We provide high quality healthcare services primarily to the residents of East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, which have a combined population in the region of 530,000.
The Lancashire & South Cumbria Cancer Alliance has been selected to support two local Clinical Commissioning Groups participate in a national initiative to facilitate diagnosing lung cancer earlier.
National monies are being provided over the next 4 years to roll out the scheme across Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen as part of a country-wide drive to save lives by catching the condition early, NHS England announced today.
Over the next 12 months, planning will commence on implementing a service where people within a certain age range, identified as being at risk of lung cancer will be invited to attend for a lung check and, if appropriate, undergo a low dose CT scan.
This targeted diagnostic initiative will help improve survival rates by initially rolling a lung check to areas with the highest death rates from lung cancer. The project has the potential to reach around 60,000 people over the four year period across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Nationally around £70 million has been announced by NHS England to fund 10 projects, including the two in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Dr Neil Smith, Blackburn GP and Primary Care Lead for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said: “We welcome today’s announcement confirming the planned introduction of free lung health check projects in Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. It’s good news for Blackburn with Darwen residents. It also gives GPs locally, the opportunity to identify and help target people who could benefit from lung health checks if they are aged 55-74 and have ever smoked.”
“The checks will spot a range of chest health problems early so that they can be treated early. We know that when health problems, which include cancer, are spotted, diagnosed and treated early, people are more likely to get better and recover.”
“Preparation will begin immediately but it will take a period of time before the service can be up and running. However we will now start preparing to deliver this from April this year.”
Councillor Brian Taylor, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is a fantastic, innovative initiative. The trucks will be placed in supermarket carparks so will be convenient to visit. As we know, early detection is vitally important in treating lung conditions so I hope this initiative will be very useful for helping people to detect problems early and avoid major treatments. Ultimately I hope we are able to help save lives.”
Juliette Brookfield, the Programme Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance said: “This is a real opportunity for the Cancer Alliance to support these two areas plan, implement and develop this earlier diagnosis scheme. It will help diagnose lung cancer earlier within our population where we know we have higher than the national average levels of lung cancer. The Cancer Alliance is delighted to be leading this project with the two Clinical Commissioning Groups.”
The NHS Long Term Plan set out an ambition that 55,000 more people will survive their cancer – to achieve this the plan also included an ambition to increase the number of cancers diagnosed at stages one and two from half to three-quarters of cancer patients by 2028..