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Published on 2 October 2007

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UK opposition party pledges NICE revamp

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The UK’s Conservative Party has said it will revamp the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) if it wins power at the next election.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said NICE should appraise new cancer drugs when they are licensed so that effective new treatments are introduced quickly.

The announcement comes as the party seeks to put health at the forefront of debate by releasing plans to boost cancer survival rates by up to 100 lives a day.

Mr Lansley said: “If we were to achieve European averages, we would save an extra 24 lives a day. If we achieve the best in Europe, we would save 95 lives a day from cancer.”

He added that the Conservatives would formulate a new cancer strategy promoting early diagnosis and rapid treatment.

“It is a scandal that we are the leading European centre for cancer research – funded not least by donations from the British public – and yet Britain is amongst the lowest and slowest in Europe in the take-up of new cancer treatments,” he said.

He also announced plans to reform the care of stroke victims, with an increased emphasis on rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy.

He said: “The National Audit Office showed three years ago how, in Australia, they provided clot-busting drugs to 9% of stroke patients – all those who could benefit from it.

“The equivalent in Britain should be over 10,000 stroke patients treated in this way. In fact, last year, it was only 218.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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