Minister pledges faster diagnosis.
NHS patients with suspected cancer will be diagnosed faster under new measures for treating the disease, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.
The new "more patient-centred" plans will mean that from 2020 patients will be given a definitive cancer diagnosis leading to treatment - or the all-clear - within 28 days of being referred by a GP.
The new measure amends the previous target, which meant that patients with suspected cancer must see a specialist within 14 days of being referred by their GP. The investigation period which followed this had no previous limit.
Health experts believe the new method could save up to 11,000 lives a year Officials said the new standard will make sure that cancer services are delivered more effectively around the needs of patients and their families, by limiting the period of uncertainty and fear that arises when people think they may have cancer. They said the new target will be underpinned by an expected PS300 million more spent on diagnostics a year by 2020.
Mr Hunt said: "For people who are worried they may have cancer, waiting for that all-important test result is a nerve-wracking time. We have a duty to make sure this period of uncertainty is as short as possible. For those who get the all-clear, they will have peace of mind sooner. Those who sadly have cancer will get treatment much quicker."