From Mark Doran, CCG Strategic Commissioning Lead for Cancer
Last year and this year, we have been fortunate to receive transformation funding from the West Midlands Cancer Alliance, including to set up a pilot service for respiratory health checks in certain parts of Stoke-on-Trent. Operated by University Hospitals North Midlands, the pilot includes inviting patients from GP practices for a respiratory health check. This is essentially a lung MOT which may detect a number of things including cardiovascular problems, diabetes or lung cancer – even if symptoms are not yet visible.
Identifying lung cancer patients as early as possible is extremely important, to give people the best possible chance of a good outcome. The pilot ensures the patient gets the most appropriate follow-up care – usually from their own GP. If there are any concerns, a follow-up CT scan is arranged. If the scan suggests cancer (a very small proportion of patients), the patient can be offered the most appropriate care very quickly.
The pilot includes access to stop smoking services through partnership working with the Stoke-on-Trent City Council public health team. This pilot is based on findings of major pieces of international research and is so far replicating the positive findings of pilots in Manchester and Liverpool. The NHS Long Term Plan calls for roll-out nationwide over the next few years. It is a great example of putting clinical evidence into action. We are also supporting another West Midlands STP in developing a similar programme.
Elsewhere in our STP, a cancer awareness group in East Staffordshire is aiming to address communities where uptake of cancer screening services and also HPV vaccination is very low. The group includes local authority and community leaders as well as health professionals and commissioners. It has been focusing on the reasons why certain communities tend to decline screening and why parents in those communities are much less likely to consent to their daughters having the HPV vaccination. Evidence shows that the vaccine makes a real difference in reducing incidence of certain cancer types, and the screening can identify warning signs of certain types of cancer (breast, bowel and cervical) before any symptoms are visible. Representatives from the group have been invited to present their work at the Muslim Network Health Collaboration in London. An element of the West Midlands Cancer Alliance transformation funding will be used to expand the project and roll it out to two other parts of Staffordshire over the next 12 months.