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Date: 21 February 2019

Time: 19:32

Excellence in lung cancer care recognised

Story posted/last updated: 01 August 2013

A major audit of lung cancer care across Great Britain has shown that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is one of the top 10 trusts in the country for getting patients through to surgery, which offers the only realistic chance of long-term cure from the disease.

The National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) looks at the care delivered during referral, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for people diagnosed with lung cancer and mesothelioma.

At a national level, the NLCA results, which are based on data for 38,500 patients first seen in hospitals in Great Britain in 2011, show patients are benefiting from improved standards of treatment. Three in five lung cancer patients now receive active treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, compared with less than half (45 per cent) in 2005.

This year’s audit also shows an excellent performance at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) in particular. In addition to the outstanding surgical results, patients diagnosed at QEHB are also more likely than the national average to see a lung nurse specialist, have a biopsy to confirm the type of cancer and to receive other forms of active anti-cancer treatment, e.g. chemotherapy.  

The audit has also led to the hospital being selected to take part in a project called LungPath. The project will allow other hospitals to learn from QEHB’s biopsy service, which was highlighted in the report as exemplary.

Dr Ian Woolhouse, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine and Clinical Service Lead, is associate director of the Lung Cancer Audit and said: “The National Lung Cancer Audit isn’t about collecting data for its own sake. The audit supports many service improvement initiatives within participating trusts and helps them identify their strengths and weaknesses. The audit provides a local action plan template to facilitate this process.

“The audit also allows organisations to learn from each other. UHB is leading the way with its excellent biopsy service and the LungPath project will allow us to share our practices with other hospitals across the UK who aren’t performing so well in this area.”

“UHB’s biopsy service manages to achieve a tissue diagnosis in a high proportion of cases and allows the most appropriate care to be given to the patient quickly. This is due to the fact that a full range of biopsy procedures, including minimally invasive procedures can be carried out on-site at QEHB.”

The state-of-the-art laboratories at the hospital became fully functional in April 2012. The new "super labs" can be accessed quickly by consultants and can turn samples round in an accurate and timely manner. This means patients receive their results within a week of having a biopsy taken and treatment plans can be put in place without delay.

Dr Woolhouse continues: “An investigator team from the LungPath project visited the hospital and saw firsthand how our service works to the benefit of our patients. They attended our multidisciplinary team meetings, visited the labs and interviewed members of the department. This enabled them to compile a report which will be shared with other organisations and presented at a national conference early next year. It’s fantastic that UHB is being recognised as a centre of excellence in this area and that our patients are receiving the best care possible.”

The NLCA is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership.

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