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Cancer diagnosis tests "within two weeks"

Gordon Brown is to promise patients the right to undergo vital diagnostic tests for cancer within seven days of concerns being raised.

The pledge would be delivered by Labour by the end of the next five-year Parliament if the party wins a consecutive fourth term at the next general election, he is to say.

The commitment will come in his speech to Labour's annual conference in Brighton this week, when he will seek to put the party's focus on public service reform at the core of an electoral fightback.

The promise will be funded by £1 billion of "savings" identified in the NHS's capital budget over five years as the government's massive hospital-rebuilding programme nears its completion.

Labour will seek to direct resources away from new hospital building and towards diagnosis capacity and improving primary and community care facilities, senior aides say.

Its new focus will be on early diagnosis and intervention, with "more and faster" tests to improve prevention in a bid to achieve the best survival rates in the world.

A new five-year plan on diagnostic capacity is to be unveiled this autumn.

The pledge on cancer tests - including also the right to see a specialist within a fortnight - is expected to save up to 10,000 lives a year.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Labour Party Conference