Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department of Health


  At your Committee's hearing on 12 December, I undertook to let you have a note about expenditure on cancer research in the UK, comparing the Government's with that of the charities.

  Getting valid and accurate figures in this area is not without difficulty. For example, as you will appreciate, it is often impossible to distinguish between basic or biological research that is relevant to cancer from that relevant to other disease processes. And it can be difficult, for charities as well as the NHS, to differentiate between costs attributable to research and those attributable to services.

  I have, though, attempted to make a realistic assessment of the present position. I have drawn on various sources for the charities. I have: taken information from web sites and newsletters; used the Association of Medical Research Charities handbook; and made other enquiries by telephone and email to the relevant charities.

  In all cases I have used the latest or highest figure where there is more than one, and I have rounded up wherever appropriate. I have tried to capture as much data as possible, but it may be that some of the smaller cancer charities have escaped. Assuming they have, I think it unlikely that their combined expenditure would be anything near £1m, but I have added that as a nominal amount. I am fairly confident that a figure in the region of £180 million is a good approximation of the charities' annual expenditure on cancer research.

  For the Government's expenditure in 2000-01, I have started with the Department of Health figure, which is £83.8 million. As I explained to the Committee, this figure includes not only directly commissioned projects but also NHS support funding for research conducted by the charities and the research councils. To this I have added amounts from my opposite numbers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  I have then included estimates of expenditure provided by the Medical Research Council, by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and by the Office of Science & Technology in respect of the other research councils. On this basis, the Government total is £190 million, which is significantly more than the figure (of £112 million for 1998-99) that the Department provided and the Committee quoted in its Report "Cancer Research—A Fresh Look" of 25 July 2000.

  I think we should all treat these figures with caution, for the reasons I have given. Even so, I would suggest that it is perfectly reasonable to say that the Government's expenditure on cancer research is equal to that of the charities.

Sir John Pattison

Director of Research, Analysis and Information

December 2001

Region Cancer Network Clinical Lead for Research Lead Clinician Network Co-ordinator
North West3Lancashire & South Cumbria To be identifiedDr Graham Read
1Merseyside & Cheshire Dr Peter ClarkeDr Ged Corcoran
3Greater Manchester To be identifiedDr Petula Chatterlee
Northern & Yorkshire3 Cancer Care Alliance of Teeside, S Durham and North Yorkshire To be identifiedDr P Dunlop
2Humber & Yorkshire Coast Prof Lindsay TurnbullProf M J Lind
1Northern Dr Philip Atherton/
Prof Reg Hall
Prof Reg Hall
2Yorkshire Dr Matt SeymourProf Mark Baker
Trent1North Trent Prof Rob ColemanProf B W Hancock Mr Roger Burkinshaw
2Mid Trent Prof James CarmichaelProf J D Hardcastle
4Derby/Burton Dr Vaughan Keeley
3Leicestershire To be identifiedDr Albert Benghiat
Eastern3Mid Anglia To be identifiedDr David Blainey
1West Anglia Dr Pippa CorrieDr M V Williams Dr Roy Harris
2South Essex Dr Anne RobinsonDr I Linehan
3Norfolk & Waveney Dr MartinDr Simon G Crocker
4Mount Vernon Dr Jane Halpin
London3South East London Dr Peter HarperDr Elizabeth Sawicka
1West London Prof Charles Coombes/Dr Kathy BinyshProf Charles Coombes Ms Pim Parker
2North London Dr Jonathan LedermannProf Tony Goldstone
3NE London To be identifiedProf Adrian Newland
1South West London Prof Alan HorwichDr Gill Ross Ms Rachel Gresty-Bayes
South East2Sussex Dr David BloomfieldDr Geoffrey Newman
1Central South Coast Prof Peter JohnsonMr James Smallwood Ms Jocelyn Walters
2Four Counties Dr Claire BlesingDr Jane Barrett Ms Susan Palmer
4Kent Prof Roger James
3Surrey To be identifiedProf Hillary Thomas
South West1Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire Dr Steven FalkDr Jonathan Sheffield Mr Paul Dillon
33 Counties To be identifiedDr Roger Owen
3Dorset To be identifiedMr Robert Talbot
2Peninsula Dr Nigel BaileyDr Martin Cooper Mr Glyn Rees
West Midlands3Arden Dr Tom Goodfellow
3North West Midlands Dr Nick Phin
1Black Country Dr David FerryDr D Murphy Ms Linda Price
2Pan Birmingham Dr Chris PooleDr Don Milligan

  1 = first wave 1 April 2001, 2 = second wave 1 October 2001, 3 = core post funding, 4 = remain unready.

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