This week, NHS England has made a really positive and important announcement for Mansfield’s health, writes Ben Bradley MP.
Along with my colleague Mark Spencer, the MP for Sherwood, I have been campaigning over the course of the last year or so to improve screening and patient pathways for former mineworkers.
That’s involved bringing together stakeholders with ministers from the Department of Health, and working with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) to highlight the risks of mining-related conditions like Pneumoconiosis, and, in January, hosting a meeting for local health commissioners in Nottinghamshire.
From early on in these discussions, I’ve been highlighting screening trials that took place recently in Liverpool and Manchester, looking at lung cancers as a priority, but also diagnosing countless other conditions.
And and I have been asking to have these screenings rolled out here in Mansfield.
As well as its coalfield history, Mansfield also has one of the highest rates of smoking in the country, which puts residents in this area at increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory problems.
The brilliant news is that NHS England announced last week that the Mansfield and Ashfield area will be part of the next stage of these trials, meaning that across the area, more than 50,000 of those most at risk of lung problems will be invited by NHS England for free lung health checks.
Those found to have potential problems will then be put forward for CT scans.
That’s a £5 million investment in the health of people in Mansfield.
Early diagnosis is absolutely key for lung cancer in particular,.
There will be more information about timings to come, but those considered ‘at risk’ – often over-55s who smoke or have smoked – will be invited by the NHS directly to take part and I’d encourage you to do so if you get the chance.
This is a big win for this area, for local residents, and a big step in the campaign to improve screening for Mansfield’s miners, many of whom will qualify for this support.