• Hampshire and Lincolnshire both have three CCGs with the highest rates of lung cancer detected in A&E
  • Portsmouth detected nearly half of lung cancers in A&E, National Lung Cancer Audit shows
  • NHS England launched four-year supermarket car park scanning drive in February

Two counties have six of the 10 worst performing areas for having lung cancer picked up in A&E, new data reveals.

The latest National Lung Cancer Audit shows three CCGs in Hampshire and another three in Lincolnshire have more than a third of lung cancer detections revealed in an emergency department. This can often mean the cancer is at a later and less curable stage.

The data, collated by the Royal College of Physicians, shows Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group as the worst perfoming area, with 47.1 per cent of lung cancer detections in 2017 discovered after an unplanned visit.

Neighbouring Gosport and Fareham CCG was next worst with 45.4 per cent. South East Hampshire CCG was also in the worst 10 areas.

Lincolnshire East, Lincolnshire North and Lincolnshire West all had A&E detection rates of between 33 and 36 per cent.

A spokeswoman for NHS England and NHS improvement South East said: “In some part of Hampshire we have a higher incidence of lung cancer than the rest of the south due to levels of pollution and a higher rate of smoking linked to socio economic deprivation.”

“The Wessex Cancer Alliance is working with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP to create a system-wide plan for cancer covering operational performance and transformation including improving the uptake of screening, increasing early diagnosis, implementing the Cancer Recovery Model and progress against workforce plans.”

A spokesman for NHS England and NHS Improvement Midlands said the Lincolnshire CCGs were investing in improving diagnosis.

He said in a statement: ”One of the first improvements to be piloted is their Faster Chest X-Ray service which ensures patients with suspected lung cancer will receives their results within 24 hours and, if the results show any abnormalities, patients will have a CT scan within 48 hours. Under the previous service patients may have had to wait several weeks for their results or to be referred for further tests.”

The Taskforce for Lung Health, an umbrella body including the British Lung Foundation and royal medical colleges, said “too many people are having lung cancer diagnosed in A&E, often meaning it is at a later stage”.

Chair Alison Cook said: “Unfortunately, this can mean the diagnosis is too late for effective treatment. Early diagnosis is vital, which is why we are supporting the rollout of the lung health checks programme, to offer scans to people at higher risk in their communities.”

In February NHS England announced it was putting £70m into a lung cancer screening programme, that often involves scanning trucks working from supermarket car parks.

Southampton CCG is one of the 10 areas selected to be part of the four-year project.

The NLCA data showed South Tyneside CCG’s A&E detection rate was 36.4 per cent.

Executive director of operations Matt Brown told HSJ: “As a CCG we have done a great deal of work in this area over the last two years, supporting our patients to make good healthcare choices, supporting professional development in primary care and increasing diagnostic options.

“Since this data were collated, we have introduced an innovative low dose CT screening trial for at-risk COPD patients. Our overall performance against the cancer standards, in terms of two-week, 31-day and 62-day waits, is amongst the best in the country, as is our performance on the speed of access to diagnostic tests overall. These factors combined lead us to strongly anticipate an improvement in the emergency presentation rate for lung cancer when more recent data is released.”