High risk smokers in North Kirklees are to benefit from a £4.5 million targeted lung health check scheme, designed to identify a range of health problems and speed up access to potentially life-saving treatment.
People in parts of North Kirklees aged between 55 and 74, who currently smoke or who have ever smoked, will be offered a free lung health check in the community close to their home, along with access to specialist stop smoking advice and appropriate follow-up, including CT scanning, if needed.
One of 10 NHS England schemes being launched around the country today (February 8) – North Kirklees is part of the £70 million national Targeted Lung Health Checks project – one of the first to be rolled-out following the recent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The Plan sets out an ambition that by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 – at which point treatment leading to cure is more likely – will have risen from the current 50 per cent of patients to 75 per cent.The lung health check programme is part of how NHS England is planning to deliver the required improvements.
Lung cancer kills more people in West Yorkshire and Harrogate than any other cancer, with high levels of the disease diagnosed at late stage. There is now robust evidence that earlier diagnosis can be effectively encouraged through a combination of targeted lung health checks in high risk areas, public awareness, clinician education and better access to diagnostic testing.
Professor Sean Duffy, Clinical Lead with the WYH Cancer Alliance, welcomed the additional investment in North Kirklees and encouraged all those targeted for the health check to take up the invitation.
“The lung health check schemes bring huge benefits in spotting a wide range of illnesses, including bronchitis and emphysema – not just cancer – and it’s an opportunity to access support, advice and potentially treatment much earlier than might otherwise be the case.
“We understand that it’s not always easy or convenient for people to access health services, which is why these checks will be delivered on the doorstep, in local communities, close to home. It’s a great opportunity for people to get checked out and take advantage of the free service.”
Dr David Kelly, GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “Being included in this project is really great news. It means that people who are most at risk can be offered checks and will be able to get help earlier if they need it. Early detection of lung conditions means that NHS treatment is more likely to be successful. After today’s confirmation, we look forward to working with our partners on the detailed plans for the project, to ensure we bring maximum benefit to those people who are targeted.”
Cllr Musarrat Khan, Kirklees Council Cabinet member for Health and Social Care, said: “We are hugely committed to helping people in Kirklees stay well for as long as possible. We strongly encourage people to take advantage of the free lung check programme – early diagnosis can save lives.”
Rob Webster, Chief Executive Lead West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, also welcomed the announcement:“Lung cancer claims more lives than any other cancer across WY&H and we know this is directly related to smoking.
“There are around 351,000 smokers across our area and we are working with our public health colleagues to help people to quit, raise awareness and prevent other forms of cancer wherever possible. Working with our hospital partners to create smoke free zones to reduce tobacco use is also a priority as are these very welcome lung health checks’.
You can read the related NHS press release by following this link.