'Our biggest concern'.
So when you demanded more lottery cash to be spent on your priorities, tackling cancer went right to the top of the government's agenda.
And today we see the result. A massive boost for cancer care in Coventry - the city's share of the biggest ever investment in cancer equipment in our country.
It's equipment which, in many cases, will be installed and treating patients next year. It's investment to cut delays, improve services - and save lives.
It's a multi-million pound investment to provide state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and treat cancer across the area.
Walsgrave Hospital will get two new linear accelerators, which work by targeting high-energy radiation beams precisely on tumours. It's investment to enhance the hospital as a centre of excellence for cancer care.
There's money for breast cancer screening equipment, too - four new x- ray machines, for instance, for Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. And a new trailer to ferry the x-ray and ultrasound machines around to women for the screening programme.
Everyone will welcome this new equipment. But I know that some will ask why we are not spending more taxpayers' money as well. The answer is we are - a record amount.
Today's announcement is on top of the government's increased investment in the NHS - an extra pounds 21 billion over the next three years.
Spending on health services in Coventry is up by pounds 13 million this year alone - an increase of over 7 per cent.
We are also investing pounds 200 million to improve prevention, detection and treatment of cancer in this country.
Cancer casts its long shadow over almost every family. Thanks to modern medical advanced cancer is no longer the certain killer it once was. But our survival rate still lags behind both the European average and the USA.
So we've overhauled breast and cancer screening, guaranteed that women with suspected breast cancer will be able to see a specialist within a fortnight of their GP saying they need an urgent consultation. And we'll extend it to other forms of cancer from next year.
I have set a target of cutting death rates from cancer of those aged under 75 by a fifth within 10 years. So I make no apologies for the use of lottery good cause money to buy cancer equipment.
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|Author:||Telegraph, TONY BLAIR Writes For Evening|
|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Sep 22, 1999|
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