Health Questions: 27th November 2012

Tessa Munt (Wells) (LD)
T7. Since the Prime Minister made his radiotherapy promise to current and future cancer patients last month, cancer centres all over the country have been telling me that it cannot be delivered, because there is not enough investment in new radiotherapy machines and in the recruitment and training of staff to operate them. Will the Secretary of State give the same financial commitment to the annual radiotherapy fund as he is giving to the cancer drug fund, and will he meet me to discuss the matter? [129967]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry)
I thank my hon. Friend for her question, because it touches on a matter of concern to me, notwithstanding the £15 million radiotherapy innovation fund, which, as she said, was announced by the Prime Minister. Indeed, last night, at my ministerial surgery, the hon. Member for Easington (Grahame M. Morris) came along to discuss this very matter, and he raised several important issues, all of which I have this morning taken up with my officials. I am more than happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the matter further, however, as I think there is work to be done.

Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab)
My 20-year-old constituent, Martin Solomon, has blood cancer and is currently receiving expert treatment at the Christie in Manchester. He needs a stem cell transplant, but finding a match is difficult, especially as he has mixed heritage, and his best chance is from an umbilical cord donation. Will the Secretary of State do two things to help Martin? First, will he reinvigorate the campaign within the black and ethnic minority communities to increase stem cell donations, and, secondly, will he establish a cord collection centre in Manchester, so that mothers can donate cord after the birth of a baby and give young people such as Martin an extra chance to find a match?

Anna Soubry
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for raising an important topic. I send my heartfelt sympathies to his constituent. As he identified, this is a real problem. Yes, is the short answer to his first question. I met officials several weeks ago to discuss exactly this problem, as we need to do more in that area. Of course, this is a national scheme. Whether there is a need for a local scheme in Manchester is a moot point, but his constituent will be able to access the national scheme. I am more than happy to discuss the matter further with him.