Lung health checks are coming to Doncaster

From the end of March, mobile trucks will make their way across the Doncaster area in a bid to help detect lung cancer earlier, as well as identifying other lung conditions.

Working with NHS organisations in Doncaster, Alliance Medical and Ashfield Engage, part of UDG Healthcare Plc, will provide a new Lung Health Check service, encouraging around 41,000 people in the town to take up the invitation.

Doncaster is one of 10 areas nationally that has been chosen to implement Lung Health Checks due to the number of people in the area that have ever smoked. The programme will run for 12 months until March 2022, with a second phase taking place to allow for any further scans and follow up appointments, making a total of three years.

The Lung Health Check programme could help improve lung cancer survival rates across the borough with a recent study showing that checks such as these can potentially pick up changes earlier and reduce lung cancer deaths by around 26% in men and 40% in women.

Covid-19 secure mobile scanning trucks will move around Doncaster on a three-monthly basis and be parked at designated places in the:

  • South – including towns and villages, such as Rossington and Mexborough from March 2021 to mid-July 2021
  • North – including areas such as Bentley and Carcroft from July 2021 to September 2021
  • East – covering towns and villages, such as Thorne and Hatfield from October 2021 to December 2021
  • Central – including areas such as Intake and Cantley from December 2021 to March 2022.

Dr David Crichton, local GP and Clinical Chair, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The Doncaster Lung Health Check programme is a new, proactive way to help the earlier detection of lung disease, including cancer.

“Early detection not only allows better treatment and support for people, but also helps to improve long term health outcomes. As a local GP, I would encourage all eligible patients to take up the offer.”

Ashfield Engage will liaise with local GP practices ahead of the roll-out in each locality to identify all patients that are eligible – aged 55 to 74 years, who have ever smoked.

An invitation letter will be sent to eligible patients, along with details of how to book onto a free Lung Health Check which will take place initially by telephone, with the offer of a low dose CT scan at a mobile unit if further investigation is required.

Dr Jason Page, Clinical Director for the Doncaster Lung Health Check programme said: “I am delighted we are now able to roll-out this fantastic programme for eligible patients in Doncaster. Cancer is a very sensitive and personal issue and we know many people find it a difficult subject to talk about. This new programme is designed to help detect lung cancer earlier as well as other health conditions such as lung problems and high blood pressure.

“If you receive an invite letter in the coming weeks, please don’t ignore it; read the local information booklet and book your telephone appointment.”

Dr Trish Fisher, Clinical Director of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System Cancer Alliance and a Consultant Oncologist with a lung cancer practice, said: “Whilst the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is true of many cancers including lung cancer, sadly this isn’t always possible. Therefore early detection is essential to give the best outcomes and experiences for those affected – with modern developments in both surgery and radiotherapy many more people can be safely treated and experience fewer side effects from their treatment than they might expect.

“The Lung Health Check programme in Doncaster is something we very much welcome for our region. We will continue to support this important piece of work and as the scheme develops, we will look to roll it out across the region in line with the national direction of travel.”

Dr Tim Noble, Medical Director at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals and Respiratory Consultant, said: “Lung cancer accounts for around 20% of all cancer deaths in the UK. Schemes such as this will help us to detect any potential problems early, ensuring we can begin treatment sooner rather than later. I strongly encourage everybody invited to this service to book – it’s a short appointment which could be incredibly important.”

A targeted campaign will launch in the coming weeks, encouraging eligible patients to book a Lung Health Check appointment.

For more information please visit www.lunghealthchecks.co.uk.

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