Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
At its meeting in June 2022, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) made a positive recommendation on targeted lung cancer screening with integrated smoking cessation service provision in people aged 55-74 years with a history of smoking. The Wales Screening Committee accepted this recommendation in principle at its meeting in November 2022.
In advance of updated UK NSC recommendations on targeted lung cancer screening, scoping work was commenced by the Cancer Implementation Group (now Wales Cancer Network (WCN)) in 2019, with a small team appointed within the NHS Health Collaborative. Evidence in support of Lung Health Checks/targeted lung cancer screening was reported with a recommendation to deliver an operational pilot (OP) in Wales to inform any potential future wider roll-out. This team expanded during 2022, to support delivery of the OP within Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB (CTMUHB) and reporting to the Wales Cancer Network Board. The funding to deliver the OP has been provided on a grant or sponsorship basis by a number of Third Sector and industry partners.
The Welsh Government has accepted the UK National Screening Committee’s recommendation for targeted lung screening in principle and is considering how this could be delivered in Wales. We are working with Public Health Wales to explore options on the approach for a national programme for Wales and are keen to learn from the findings of the OP which is due to commence in the CTMUHB area this year. Taking this work forward, we want to engage and include voices and views from people in Wales, charities and all relevant multidisciplinary professionals and service areas. We are also working with Scotland and England to identify the optimal pathway, which has not yet been determined.
The UK NSC also recommended integration with our smoking cessation service, Help Me Quit, which provides free, evidence-based, stop smoking support in Wales. As the targeted lung cancer screening programme develops, we plan to ensure our smoking cessation services are fully integrated with the screening programme so that we can support more smokers in Wales to be smoke-free.
This statement is being issued during recess to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.