An advertising campaign on the back of buses in Luton has been launched to support wider awareness of the need for people to come forward for a free lung health check.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG has been twinned with NHS Thurrock CCG as part of 14 Cancer Alliance areas across the UK to roll out a Targeted Lung Health Check programme.
The programme focuses on Luton which has one of the highest rates of death from lung cancer in the UK and some of the highest rates of smoking with over 10 per cent of the local population labelled as smokers.
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The programme is one of the first to be rolled out as part the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Talib Abubacker, GP at Medic Surgery is supporting the programme, he said: “We were able to start this programme in February 2021, but we have not had the take up we expected.
"The programme involves patients who are 55 to 75 and smoke or have ever smoked, being invited to an initial remote lung health check, completed by qualified nurses from our lung health check team.
"Those patients found to have a high-risk score following that check will be invited to take up the low dose CT scan.
“Patients should be assured that the whole process has been made COVID secure and the brand new facilities will provide first class care.”
Philip Turner, from Healthwatch Luton, who was eligible for the lung health check and took up the offer, said: “I have been through the whole process from receiving my letter, to having my check, and then a CT Scan.
"I would urge everyone who receives an invitation to come forward, the checks were quick and I felt very safe when visiting the CT scanner and would like to thank the team for the excellent care I have received.
"Having access to the CT scan is going to ensure many people in Luton have their lung health issues diagnosed and treated at an early stage.”
Existing and former smokers aged between 55 and under 75 in Luton will be invited in a phased way, to have a free lung health check with a lung specialist.
Stop Smoking services are always available and ready to support you in leading a healthier lifestyle and giving up smoking.
The programme will last for four years.