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The Government allocates a certain number of days in the chamber for debates selected by the Backbench Business Committee. It is up to the Committee to decide what subjects it will schedule for debate. The Committee meets every week on a Tuesday to hear requests from any backbench Member of Parliament. Mr Baron’s request to the Committee for this debate may be seen on

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Cancer Strategy for England

Independent Cancer Taskforce

The Independent Cancer Taskforce was established by NHS England in January 2015. The aim of the taskforce was to develop a five year strategy for cancer services in England, with the ambition to improve survival rates and save lives.

The taskforce was asked to align its strategy with that of the Five Year Forward View – a shared vision for the NHS which was published in October 2014.

The taskforce has been chaired by the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpai Kumar.

Cancer Report

In July 2015, the Independent Cancer Taskforce published its report:

The report outlined improvements to cancer care in England which could mean an additional 30,000 patients every year could survive cancer for 10 years or more by 2020.

One of the main aims was to work on earlier diagnosis, which according to the strategy could increase survival rates for 11,000 patients alone.[1]

NAO Report

The National Audit Office published a report into cancer services in England in January 2015. Despite noting the success of the NHS and Department of health in implementing the Cancer Reform Strategy (2010), they highlighted several areas for improvement in cancer care and patient outcomes. The full report, Progress in improving cancer services and outcomes in England, is available from the NAO website.

Further Information

House of Commons Briefings

The following Library briefings may be of interest in relation to this debate. They are available online or in hard copy at request to the Members’ Library.

Commons Library Debate Pack, The Availability of Cancer Drugs, CDP2015/76

Commons Library Briefing, Cancer Statistics: In Brief, SN06887

Commons Library Briefing, Cancer Statistics: In Detail, SN02677

Commons Library Briefing, Cancer: Waiting Times for Diagnosis and Treatment, SN07043

Cancer Taskforce

The Cancer Research, Cancer Taskforce website has further information on the taskforce, a copy of the strategy report and accompanying press releases, as well links to blog articles and the original call for evidence. It may be accessed at:

The NHS England press release, announcing the launch of the Independent Cancer Taskforce on 11 January 2015, provides further details of the aims of the taskforce as well as announcements on funding for new radiotherapy treatments and innovations in early diagnosis:

NAO Reports

The National Audit Office have published a series of reports into cancer care services in the Uk:

[1] The report is summaries in the accompanying press release, published 19 July 2015.

Debate packs are intended to provide a summary or overview of the issues being debated and identify any relevant briefings including press and parliamentary material. A more detailed briefing may be prepared for a Member on request to the Library.

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