Our diagnosis working group
The Taskforce’s diagnosis working group was set up to drive forward the recommendations around improving the early and accurate diagnosis of lung disease.
The group has a wide membership of patient representatives, professional bodies, patient organisations and industry partners, and the group’s chairs can be found on our about page.
As a group we’re currently working on two main areas of work, which were identified as priorities in the Taskforce’s five-year plan. These are:
- Creating a clear pathway for diagnosing the symptoms of lung disease
- Supporting the case for a national lung screening programme
Creating a clear pathway for diagnosis the symptoms of lung disease
We’ve worked on updating our pathway for how symptoms of lung disease should be identified and diagnosed in primary care.
Currently, people wait too long for an accurate diagnosis of their lung disease. We believe an important step to addressing this is to have a unified pathway that all health care professionals in primary care can use. The pathway will make sure the right tests are done at the right time, either at the GP surgery or by referring people as quickly as possible into a local diagnostic hub.
We’re championing the use of local diagnostic hubs because they can help diagnose lung diseases that are more complicated much more quickly. Diagnostic hubs will bring together the expertise of respiratory professionals alongside those working in areas with shared symptoms such as cardiovascular, mental health and obesity. This means that whatever condition they ultimately have, people can get started on the right treatment without wasting time.
We’re sharing our vision for the pathway with NHS England and will work with them to make sure a pathway is adopted as soon as possible.
Supporting the case for a national lung cancer screening programme
We would like to see a national programme in place for people at high risk of developing lung cancer.
As a group we’re interested in two key projects which are helping to make the case for a national programme: the NELSON lung cancer screening trial, and the NHS England targeted lung health check programme.
In August 2020 we produced a briefing outlining the Taskforce position on the targeted lung health checks programme. We hope these pilots will be successful in diagnosing not only lung cancer but other lung disease such as COPD and interstitial lung diseases early. But we think there are some aspects that need to be improved if the checks are going to be successful, including ensuring people who are found to have COPD have a clear package of support. Our briefing has since been shared with the pilot sites and the relevant team at NHS England, and can be read here.