Faster diagnosis and treatment for Lincolnshire’s lung patients

Patients having chest X-rays at Lincolnshire’s hospitals will be able to get their results quicker than ever before as part of a new pilot project.

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The faster X-ray service is being piloted at both United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) Lincoln and Pilgrim (Boston) hospitals, and will see patients receiving results within 24-hours, with a referral for a CT scan coming within 48 hours if necessary.

Previously, patients referred for a chest X-ray had to wait two to three weeks for their results or to be referred for further tests.

The pilot launched on Monday 3 June, and patients now receive a leaflet from their GP explaining the new system, which prepares them to expect a call from the hospital for their results and if a follow-up CT scan is required.

The service has been designed in line with the new National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway (NOLCP).

Ian Fulloway, Clinical Lead for Diagnostics at ULHT, said: “This is an exciting development for our patients and their clinicians. Patients will benefit from faster diagnosis and therefore treatment if that is required.

“Our ultimate aim is be able to report chest X-rays whilst patients are still in our departments and offer a CT appointment within 48 hours if required.

“This initiative will be rolled out across our Trust as more advanced practitioners qualify in the reporting of chest X-rays. This initiative will further reduce the amount of time patients with suspected cancer have to wait for results and treatment, if necessary.”

Benefits of the new service include:

  • Patients will find out their results faster
  • Patients will have fewer visits to the hospital
  • Reduced patient anxiety and uncertainty of a possible cancer diagnosis
  • Improved quality, safety, and effectiveness of care with reduced variation and improvement in outcomes
  • Patients are better informed and empowered to make the right choices
  • Potential for improved survival rates by using the faster system

Routine and non-urgent X-rays will be referred back to the patient’s GP, however a further routine appointment or a CT scan can be requested if the GP feels this is required.

Referrals are to Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston during the pilot, but will be rolled-out across the whole Trust in future.

Patients referred to Grantham hospital will be seen on the current service until the Trust-wide roll-out.