Published on: 3 March 2020

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak many of the details in this article are now incorrect. A full statement on Lung Health Checks will be available in our news section when released. 

From early April 2020, mobile trucks will make their way to towns across Doncaster area in a bid to help detect lung cancer earlier as well as identifying other health conditions such as lung disease and high blood pressure.

Working with NHS organisations in Doncaster, Alliance Medical and Ashfield, part of UDG Healthcare plc, will provide the service, encouraging just over 41,000 people in Doncaster to take up a free Lung Health Check.

Doncaster is one of ten areas nationally that has been chosen to implement Lung Health Checks due to the number of people in the area that have ever smoked, supporting the delivery of a number of commitments set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. The programme will run for 12 months until March 2021, with a second phase taking place to allow for any further scans and follow up appointments, a total of three years.

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

Mobile scanning trucks will move around Doncaster on a three month basis:

  • South – including towns and villages, such as Mexborough and Rossington. The truck will be parked in a designated location from April 2020 to mid-July 2020            
  • North – including towns and villages, such as Bentley and Carcroft, parked in a designated location from July 2020 to September 2020
  • East – covering towns and villages, such as Thorne and Hatfield, parked in a designated location from October 2020 to December 2020
  • Central – including towns and villages, such as Intake and Cantley, parked in a designated location from December 2020 to March 2021.

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

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

Ashfield will liaise with local practices ahead of roll out in each locality to identify all patients that are eligible – aged 55 to 74 years, 364 days, 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.

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 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.”

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