IT was supposed to be a huge PR coup for the Westminster Tory government when it announced yesterday the roll-out of 10 new “one-stop shops” for treating cancer in the NHS in England.

Yet all the spin unravelled when former health secretary Andrew Lansley revealed that he had bowel cancer and that Tory-LibDem Treasury budget cuts might well have stopped his disease being detected earlier.

The bombshell claim by Lansley was revealed in a Tory-loyal newspaper and duly overshadowed the one-stop shop story which is a genuine advance for the NHS south of the Border that has poor cancer detection and cure rates compared to Europe.

Lansley, 61, stated that he had stage 3 bowel cancer – it has a five-year survival rate of just 65 per cent – which was discovered after his GP sent him to hospital for screening after he suffered back pain.

Had the plans Lansley championed back in 2010 when he was health secretary been implemented it is highly likely that he would have had his cancer detected earlier. If caught at stage 1, five-year survival rates are nearly 100 per cent.

He wrote: “When I was health secretary, among the early plans for cancer investment that David Cameron and I announced in October 2010 was a commitment to introduce a one-off flexible Sigmoidoscopy, or “bowelscope” test, at age 55, with a pilot leading to a national roll-out across England by the end of 2016.

“If this had happened, I would have been called to this new screening programme. But the “bowelscope” is only available to about 50 per cent of the population. A lack of endoscopists and difficulties with IT have frustrated delivery.

“Bowelscope could save 3000 lives a year, but training and recruiting endoscopists and support staff will take years.”

He then laid the blame on the Treasury which was then under Chancellor George Osbrone.

Lansley continued: “Health Education England is getting more resources for training more NHS staff, reversing the Treasury-imposed cut to the Health Education England budget in 2014 [when it was treated, wrongly, as a budget not within the NHS ‘ring-fence’]. There is a screening programme using the faecal occult blood test, at age 60, but it is blunt and misses too many cancers.”

Lansley’s revelation comes just a few days after BBC newsreader George Alagiah revealed that he has stage 4 bowel cancer and is unlikely to survive.

He called for faecal occult blood test screening to be introduced at 50, as it is in Scotland, instead of 60 as is the case in England.

Alagiah said: “Had I been screened, I could have been picked up. Had they had screening at 50, like they do in Scotland ... I would have been screened at least three times and possibly four by the time I was 58 and this would have been caught at the stage of a little polyp: snip, snip.

“We know that if you catch bowel cancer early, survival rates are tremendous. I have thought: why have the Scots got it and we don’t?”

The charity Bowel Cancer UK has stated that the disease kills nearly 16,000 people every year in the UK where it is the second most common cause of cancer death, behind lung cancer.