Earlier Cancer Detection Through Targeted Lung Health Checks Delivered Through Collaboration
The effectiveness of the Targeted Lung Health Checks programme has relied on working with trusted and communicative partners to the programme. NHS Supply Chain has delivered a robust service, that has enabled the key delivery of this programme – detecting cancer earlier in patients and saving lives.Zoe Merchant MSc MRCOT (Specialist Occupational Therapist),
Programme Manager – Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
The NHS has an ambition to improve early diagnosis and survival rates for those with cancer, and this has been the key driver behind the Targeted Lung Health Checks (TLHC) programme. This new, ground-breaking body of work in England supports this long-term ambition, and targets those most at risk of lung cancer.
The Targeted Lung Health Checks (TLHC) programme has a focus on people between 55 and 75 years old who are invited for a free lung check when identified as having been a smoker. The aim is to provide early cancer diagnosis and identification of other lung conditions.
Unfortunately, lung cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage because symptoms are not always apparent until the disease is advanced. In addition, people may be too worried about being diagnosed with lung cancer to seek help.
With the broad scope of TLHC inviting those vulnerable to lung problems, it helps to alleviate these issues through early stage detection via a Computerised Tomography (CT) scan. This can be before people have any symptoms and at a point when treatment is simpler or more successful.
Initially NHS Supply Chain’s Managed Equipment and Clinical Service Solutions (MECSS) team supported the TLHC programme, working with Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and trusts. This included Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
The areas of focus are in places where there are the highest rates of mortality from lung cancer. Mobile services are used to fulfil this programme, utilising free open spaces in different geographical areas to give patients local access to this service.
However, as lung health checks have continued our Imaging Procurement team has become involved in this programme, and supported numerous trusts through the procurement process for CT scanners since March 2022.
From the start of the TLHC programme in April 2019, services procured via the MECSS team has resulted in the TLHC programme delivering:
- 210,726 lung health checks
- Diagnosing 1,213 patients with lung cancer at its earliest stages
- Identifying 42,350 incidental findings (such as other cancers).
Procurement of the CT scanners introduced in April 2022, has so far created £603,000 in savings via our imaging framework, with additional savings to be realised as the programme progresses. As well as providing a compliant route to market for the procurement of CT scanners, NHS Supply Chain has worked with commissioners and suppliers to deliver pricing which provides an end-to-end service within the budget allocated for scans alone. This includes the scan, follow ups, booking process, CT analysis and reporting. To date, lung health checks procured as a service through NHS Supply Chain on a per-patient basis, have delivered savings against the allocated funding per scan of between 12% and 32%.
Our MECSS and Imaging Procurement teams’ strong strategic relationships with suppliers in this area and the accessibility of our compliant frameworks, were deemed the perfect fit for the NHS England programme to work. The MECSS team has supported 28 projects working alongside local ICSs.
Selecting our procurement route meant trusts could utilise their funds to maximum capacity as well as selecting a service that provides support and development from pilot to completion, as well as the continuation of the lung health checks.
By expanding targeted lung health checks to more remote and localised spaces, our successful procurement in this area has enabled distinct benefits in the wider sustainability focus within the NHS. Patients can use localised services, rather than travelling long distances to reach screening appointments. This has a two-fold benefit – it means patients are more inclined to visit somewhere closer to home, but it also means the TLHC programme reduces the overall carbon footprint of patients travelling for screening appointments and follow-up appointments.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can support the Lung Health Check programme or our Managed Equipment and Clinical Service Solutions please contact our team.
You can also find out more about our CT Scanners and Managed Equipment and Clinical Service Solutions framework agreements on our contract information pages.