A very positive and welcome annoucement: NHS England has selected Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to be one of the first areas to receive Targeted Lung Health Checks. This follows a sustained campaign from Mark Spencer MP and I to improve lung screening in Nottinghamshire.
As you may remember, last year I held a debate in Parliament looking at lung health within former mining communities. As a result of the debate, the Government set up a roundtable on lung health to look at lung screening for conditions including Pneumoconiosis and Lung Cancer. Last week, I posted about attending a Lung Function Summit Meeting to bring together doctors and other health care professionals to push for better lung care for ex miners.
It's brilliant news that this long campaign to improve lung health screening has been a success. I've lobbied for improvements to the screening programme since being elected and I am delighted that the Government has listened to my campaign.
The screening programme is one of the first projects to rollout following the launch of the Government’s NHS Long Term Plan. The programme will cover 10 initial sites covering 14 CCGs until 2023 in areas that have been selected as they have some of the highest rates of lung cancer mortality. With the Government securing an extra £33billion a year (equivalent to £20.5billion in real terms) for our NHS by 2023, there is a real shift in the focus of health and care onto prevention and earlier diagnosis.
NHS England has committed £70million of funding over the next four years for the programme, with each area receiving an allocation based on the size of the target population. The funding will pay for nurses, radiographers and radiologists to provide lung health check appointments, and low dose CT scans. Local CCGs will not have to pay for any of this out of their local budgets.
Anyone aged 55-74 and has ever smoked will be offered a free lung health check at a convenient place close to where they live, such as at a local supermarket or football ground. The checks will help spot lung cancer and a range of other health problems much earlier than before and will reduce inequalities in cancer outcomes. Results from these initial sites will form the basis for a wider rollout across the country.
In Mansfield and Ashfield CCG an estimated 46,245 people aged 55-74 will be eligible for a Targeted Lung Health Check. I would urge everyone, over 20,000 people who will be invited, to take up the offer and get your lungs checked! Problems are much easier to treat if spotted early!