14 September 2000

Alison Halford (Delyn):

What plans does she have to ensure that sufficient funding is available in Wales to reduce prostrate and testicular cancer. (OAQ6658)

Jane Hutt:

Tackling cancer is one of the Assembly’s top priorities for the NHS in Wales. We have a clear all-Wales strategic direction for cancer services, as set out in the Cameron Report, and the Cancer Services Co-ordinating Group has been established to implement the Report’s recommendations. This Group has produced All Wales Minimum Standards for the main cancers such as urological cancers, which includes prostate and testicular cancer.On 27 July, I announced that £4 million of the £25 million remaining this year of the substantial additional resources for health announced following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget, is being made available for cancer services in Wales. These additional resources will make a significant contribution to meeting the all-Wales minimum standards. NHS Wales will benefit from substantial lottery funding for new initiatives, including the £9.75 million made available for cancer care over the next three years from the New Opportunities Fund. This money will be used to support national and local strategic priorities, reduce inequalities in health, encourage best practice and stimulate innovative developments. Awareness of health issues and early detection is critical to a successful outcome to treatment. The Assembly’s Corporate Health Standard is the quality mark for workplace health promotion in Wales. Through the Corporate Health Standard we are encouraging workplaces to raise awareness of men (and women’s) health issues, to provide information to men on the signs and symptoms of prostate and testicular cancer, and to encourage men to contact a GP without delay if any of these symptoms are apparent. Consideration will be given to introducing a prostate cancer-screening programme if, and when, screening and treatment techniques have developed sufficiently. The current evidence to support the introduction of a screening programme will be kept under careful review by the National Screening Committee. Research into prostate cancer will benefit from significant investment from the Department of Health and we shall be monitoring developments in this field closely. I have also asked the National Institute of Clinical Excellence to extend its current work programme in support of cancer. Over the next two years, NICE will carry out a comprehensive programme of work to provide guidance for clinicians, managers and information for patients. This programme includes guidance for urological cancers.

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