Published on: Friday 8th February 2019


National pilot brings total of lung health check projects in West Yorkshire to four

High risk smokers in the North Kirklees area of West Yorkshire are to benefit from a £4.5million targeted lung health check scheme, designed to identify a range of health problems and speed up access to potentially life-saving treatment.

People in parts of North Kirklees aged between 55 and 74, who currently smoke or who have ever smoked, will be offered a free lung health check in the community close to their home, along with access to specialist stop smoking advice and appropriate follow-up, including CT scanning, if needed.

One of 10 NHS England schemes being launched around the country today (February 8) – North Kirklees is part of the £70million national Targeted Lung Health Checks project – one of the first to be rolled-out following the recent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Plan sets out an ambition that by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 – at which point treatment leading to cure is more likely - will have risen from the current 50 per cent of patients to 75 per cent.The lung health check programme is part of how NHS England is planning to deliver the required improvements.

Lung cancer kills more people in West Yorkshire and Harrogate than any other cancer, with high levels of the disease diagnosed at late stage. There is now robust evidence that earlier diagnosis can be effectively encouraged through a combination of targeted lung health checks in high risk areas, public awareness, clinician education and better access to diagnostic testing.

In addition to North Kirklees, three other lung health check schemes are already in place or planned within the West Yorkshire and Harrogate (WYH) Cancer Alliance area, although there are some variations in the way they have been developed, will be managed and delivered at local level. All of them will, however, follow a national protocol for quality standards and assurance.

WYH Cancer Alliance announced in early 2018 that it would be developing two lung health check schemes under its ‘Tackling Lung Cancer’ programme in Bradford and Wakefield. Both will ‘go live’ and begin to see patients over the coming months. Like North Kirklees, both areas have a high proportion of smokers and high lung cancer mortality rates. Click here for more information

In addition to the lung health checks and follow-up CT scans if needed, the Bradford and Wakefield programmes also include improving access to specialist stop-smoking advice and developing speedy and efficient patient pathways from prevention and diagnosis through to living with and beyond cancer and, in some cases, palliative and end of life care.

The Leeds Lung Health Check is a multi-million pound research project, launched in November last year, and developed in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Yorkshire Cancer Research, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council.

Funding for the North Kirklees scheme will be provided to the WYH Cancer Alliance, which will be formally accountable to NHS England for the delivery of the project. It will be led at local level by North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, working with local partners Public Health colleagues at Kirklees Council.

Professor Sean Duffy, Clinical Lead with the WYH Cancer Alliance, welcomed the additional investment in North Kirklees and encouraged all those targeted for the health check to take up the invitation.

“The lung health check schemes bring huge benefits in spotting a wide range of illnesses, including bronchitis and emphysema – not just cancer – and it’s an opportunity to access support, advice and potentially treatment much earlier than might otherwise be the case.

“We understand that it’s not always easy or convenient for people to access health services, which is why these checks will be delivered on the doorstep, in local communities, close to home. It’s a great opportunity for people to get checked out and take advantage of the free service.”

Dr David Kelly, GP and Chair of North Kirklees CCG, said: ‘Being included in this project is really great news. It means that people who are most at risk can be offered checks and will be able to get help earlier if they need it. Early detection of lung conditions means that NHS treatment is more likely to be successful. After today’s confirmation, we look forward to working with our partners on the detailed plans for the project, to ensure we bring maximum benefit to those people who are targeted.”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Kirklees Council Cabinet member for Health and Social Care, said: “We are hugely committed to helping people in Kirklees stay well for as long as possible. We strongly encourage people to take advantage of the free lung check programme – early diagnosis can save lives.”

Rob Webster, Chief Executive Lead West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, also welcomed the announcement:“Lung cancer claims more lives than any other cancer across WY&H and we know this is directly related to smoking.

“There are around 351,000 smokers across our area and we are working with our public health colleagues to help people to quit, raise awareness and prevent other forms of cancer wherever possible. Working with our hospital partners to create smoke free zones to reduce tobacco use is also a priority as are these very welcome lung health checks’.


Click here to read the press release about the NHS England roll-out across the country.

Click here for more information about North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, which looks after the health needs of around 190,000 people across Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Birstall, Liversedge and Ravensthorpe.

Click here for more information about the Leeds Lung Health Check