Cancer care on the NHS lags behind that in many other developed countries because Labour wasted billions of pounds on PFI schemes, bureaucracy and inflated salaries for managers. A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that, despite record spending on health care, cancer survival rates in Britain are worse than in Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Survival rates for breast cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer were below the average for the 34 developed countries in the study.
Mr Lansley lays the blame for the poor performance on the previous government’s failure to make sure that extra investment in the NHS reached the front line. He claims patient care was ignored in favour of increased salaries and botched computer systems.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Lansley says: “Unfortunately this report shows how much work there is to do to deal with Labour’s legacy of neglect and mismanagement of our NHS.
“They hugely increased spending on the Health Service, but wasted much of it on managers, failed IT projects and unsustainable PFI projects.
“They failed to focus on what really matters – patients – which is why we still have some of the worst cancer outcomes amongst comparable countries.”
Under Labour, spending on the NHS trebled, reaching almost £100 billion in 2009, but money for treating cancer still lags behind much of the rest of the world.
A report by the Policy Exchange think tank last year found that England spent around 5.6 per cent of its health care budget on cancer care, compared with 7.7 per cent in France, 9.6 per cent in Germany and 9.2 per cent in America.
In September it emerged that private finance initiatives, introduced by Labour to fund capital projects, have left 60 NHS hospitals on the “brink of financial collapse”. Meanwhile, the pay of NHS chief executives has risen, with typical earnings now more than £150,000.
The OECD figures reveal that the best breast cancer survival rates were in the US, where 89.3 per cent of women were alive five years after being diagnosed. The average across all OECD countries was 83.5 per cent, while in the UK it was 81.3 per cent.
Survival rates for cervical cancer were worse. Norway topped the table with 78.2 per cent still alive after five years, compared with 58 per cent of women in the UK. There were also more hospital admissions for asthma and other lung conditions than the average and infant mortality was higher.
The report also showed that consultations by doctors have fallen, and were below he OECD average in 2009.
Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “The NHS provides some excellent care but it does fall down on many counts. We know from patients phoning our helpline that the quality of care that they have experienced can be very poor and sometimes it is downright neglectful.
“Rather than trying to tackle the issue of poor care, the Department of Health is demanding that the NHS makes £20 billion of efficiency savings while spending a million pounds a day on a reform plan that doctors, nurses, patients and NHS managers all say risks irrevocably damaging the NHS.”