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U turn on cancer networks leaves question mark over arrangements for other diseases

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 23 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3256
  1. Helen Mooney
  1. 1London

The government’s radical plan to axe England’s NHS cancer networks has been scrapped after the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, was pressured into a U turn, raising questions about whether other specialist networks could also be spared.

Mr Lansley had been set to hand over control of the 28 nationally funded networks to the proposed new NHS Commissioning Board. However, cross party opposition to the strategy and warnings from leading cancer charities had forced a rethink of the controversial plan.

Mr Lansley had initially stuck by his proposals, which would have seen the NHS Commissioning Board, and not the government, deciding on possible replacement services when GP consortiums take over the bulk of NHS commissioning in 2013.

However, …

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