National roll out of lung cancer screening programme

Date: 04/07/2023 | Category: General News

On 26 June 2023 the government announced the national roll out of the lung cancer screening programme, following the success of a pilot launched in 2021, when 76% of lung cancers in those tested were caught at an early stage.

Due to our poor outcomes for diagnosis and lung cancer survival, Bedfordshire was chosen as a priority area for early testing and so we were one of the first areas to take part in this pilot which was launched under the NHS Long Term Plan in 2021.

The Targeted Lung Health Check programme invited patients aged between 55 and under 74 years old, who have ever smoked and are registered with a GP, to be screened for a lung health check.

The Lung Health Check team outside at the L&D

Patients assessed as being eligible are offered an immediate low-dose CT scan to rule out any early cancers. The checks may also identify other potentially serious conditions, in which case patients are referred back to their GP for further investigation.

The programme started in February 2021 and all GP surgeries in Luton and Central Bedfordshire have now been covered, and have sent out a total of 34,634 letters to patients across the 38 surgeries.

13,014 patients engaged with the service and participated in a lung health check, of whom 5,656 went on to have a low dose CT scan and follow up.

In total we have identified 41 cancers

We appreciate that some patients were invited during COVID and for this and other personal reasons they declined to engage with the programme. We are still able to offer the opportunity to take part in a lung health check, further information can be found at

The initial Lung Health Checks are via a telephone call, although face to face checks can be arranged. If a low dose CT Scan is required, this will take place on a mobile unit currently situated in Sainsbury’s Car Park, Dunstable.

Finally, the good news is that we are planning to starting inviting patients from Bedford GP surgeries during the latter part of the year.

You can find details of the programme on our website and of the new national roll out on the Gov UK website.