Past and current smokers invited to get free lung health check

Past and current smokers in Portsmouth are being invited to a NHS lung health check in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

With one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England, Portsmouth is one of 43 places across the country which will run a Targeted Lung Health Check programme.

The initiative means more than 23,000 past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 in Portsmouth will be invited to a lung health check by their GP over the next 2 years. This will identify over 200 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been.

People diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.

Over the next two years, invites will be sent out to all those eligible and registered with a GP surgery in Portsmouth. You will also be sent text reminders.

Lung health check invites will be sent out in yellow envelopes to those eligible, starting with the East Shore Practice and then moving onto surgeries in the Brunel Health Network, including Baffins, Milton Park, Southsea Medical Centre, Devonshire Avenue and the Uni-City Medical Centre.  The remaining practices in the city will then follow.

The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained health care advisor. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they will be offered a health check with a nurse and a low dose CT scan of the lungs.

The CT scanner is at the Rodney Road Centre, Illustrious Drive, (off Rodney Road) Portsmouth.

To date this National initiative, which is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to diagnose cancers earlier has seen more than three quarters (77%) of cancers being caught at either Stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness. This compares to less than a third of cancers caught at either stage one or two in 2018.

Targeted Lung Health Check programme lead and respiratory consultant at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Dr Ben Green said: “Getting a free NHS lung health check is really important and we would encourage all people between the age of 55 and 74 in Portsmouth, who have ever smoked, to take up the offer.”

“Lung cancer can have few symptoms in the early stages. This means that people often don’t seek medical help until tumours become more advanced.

“This programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing lung cancer in order to spot tumours early, enabling us to make the early diagnosis essential for getting curative treatment and improving survival from lung cancer.”

Chief Operating Officer at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Chris Evans said: “It is fantastic to see the start of our Targeted Lung Health Check programme in Portsmouth and it is a key milestone in the national NHS Long Term Plan ambitions of catching more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.”

Copnor GP and Clinical lead for the NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Linda Collie, said: “This is a good opportunity for those in Portsmouth who are eligible to be checked out at a convenient location in the community.

“We are aiming to get as many people as possible to take up the offer of a lung health check because it really can save lives.

“We know that some people had concerns seeking help during the pandemic but if you do have a worrying symptom now or have been coughing for three weeks or more, please do contact your GP and get checked out.”

The Targeted Lung Health Check programme estimates it will diagnose around 9,000 cancers earlier than would otherwise have been across England.  This offers the opportunity for earlier interventions, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers as this is one of the biggest things people can do to reduce their chance of developing lung cancer.

For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit

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