One year on: Free NHS lung health checks for local people in Sutton

Dr Dino Pardhanani and Madam Mayor for London Borough of Sutton Cllr Trish Fivey last year

Over 3,500 past and current smokers in Sutton have received a free NHS lung health check in the past year.

The local targeted lung health check project launched in Sutton in June 2021.

Developed by RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance in collaboration with the Royal Brompton Hospital and NHS Sutton, the project aims to improve early diagnosis of lung conditions, including cancer, before symptoms are noticeable and when any necessary treatment is likely to be more successful.

People aged 55-74 with a history of smoking who live in Sutton are invited to have a free lung health check and, if needed, a CT scan of their lungs. The scanner is located in a mobile unit at the Tesco Cheam car park, making it convenient and accessible for local residents.

So far, over 3,500 people have had a lung health check and approximately 1,300 have gone on to have a CT scan. Over 400 people who had a scan were subsequently referred to their GP or local hospital for further investigation for lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Cllr Trish Fivey, Sutton’s Madam Mayor, who was the guest of honour when the service was launched in June 2021, recently had a lung health check followed by a CT scan at the mobile unit.

Cllr Fivey said: “I was really impressed with my recent experience at the mobile scanning unit at Tesco’s on Oldfield Road.  It was so efficient and so quick – I was in and out in about five minutes! If you are offered a scan following your consultation with the lung specialist nurse – I would encourage you to have one – it is a wonderful service for Sutton residents from our local NHS.

Dr Dino Pardhanani, Lead GP for Sutton, said: “I was really pleased to be at the launch of this project last June and I am delighted to see it is going from strength to strength in Sutton. With over 400 patients referred on for treatment we will have saved lives by early detection of lung problems – especially in patients who may not have had symptoms which caused concern. This is a great example of partnership work and collaboration between Sutton GPs, Royal Brompton Hospital, Epsom and St Helier Hospital and RM Partners making a significant difference to our local residents’ health outcomes.”

Dr Anandi Sivananda, Sutton GP and Place Clinical Lead for Cancer said: “If you are aged 55-74, are a current or ex-smoker and live in Sutton, you will be invited for a lung check.”

“We know how important early detection and treatment is for lung conditions – damage to the lungs cannot be reversed and often there are no symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer. People who have COPD diagnosed early will have more effective treatment and early diagnosis of lung cancer makes a huge difference to treatment options and survival rates.”

“I would encourage everyone who is invited for a lung health check to make an appointment as soon as they can.”

To find out more about lung health checks go to lunghealthchecks-westlondon.nhs.uk or call 020 7351 8607.

About the Targeted Lung Health Check programme:

The project is a collaboration between RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance, Royal Brompton Hospital, and NHS Sutton, part of NHS South West London CCG. More information is available at: lung health checks-westlondon.nhs.uk

The NHS England Targeted Lung Health Check programme estimates as many as 1.5 million people will have been invited for a lung health check across the country by 2024/25 with an estimated 7,700 cases of lung cancer caught early, which allows for potentially life-saving interventions, including curative surgery, to be offered. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers.