The way Kettering General Hospital’s (KGH) Lung Cancer Service delivers great patient care has been accepted for use in national reports designed to spread best practice across the NHS.

Image of the Lung Cancer Service team at KGH

The hospital’s accelerated lung cancer diagnosis and treatment through ultrasound contributed to the national Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

GIRFT reviews NHS services and produces reports identifying changes that help improve care and patient outcomes, and deliver efficiencies and cost savings, across the NHS.

KGH’s Lung Cancer Service has been commended for its one-stop clinic for delivering ultrasound guided biopsies on behalf of patients who may have lung cancer, enabling them to get the right treatment without delay.

It will be mentioned in a forthcoming National Lung Cancer GIRFT report by NHS England, which studies outcomes from all units in England.

Ultrasound-guided biopsies in eligible patients are a very efficient alternative to CT-guided biopsies, for which there are longer waits and some radiation dose.

KGH’s service is delivered by Respiratory Consultant and Lung Cancer Lead, Dr George Tsaknis, Respiratory Consultant, Dr Muhammad Naeem, and Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists Laura Goodman, Natalie Johnson and Melissa Frost, MDT co-ordinator, Kirsty Bremner, and Lung Cancer Navigator, Sharon Denny.

Dr Tsaknis said: “The increasing demand for faster diagnosis and faster treatment in suspected lung cancer means establishing a rapid access ‘one-stop’ physician-led ultrasound-biopsy service like ours seems the logical step, instead of demanding more CT slots from an already stretched radiology service.

“It is rewarding to see how rapidly we diagnose patients with suspected lung cancer, offering faster oncology input and hopefully better outcomes. All patients that have been treated via the ‘one stop’ pathway have been impressed with the speed of the service.”

KGH’s Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists said: “Patients also find it reassuring that ‘the doctor who sees them in clinic, also does their biopsy’, and the process is smoother without breakdowns in communication.

The ultrasound procedure is very effective, with 96% of patients requiring no further procedures to take additional tissue to complete appropriate testing.

The one-stop clinic has also reduced pressure on CT scanner appointments, reducing waiting times for other people who need CT scans. The service is available for eligible patients from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm through the Respiratory Ambulatory Care Unit.

Kettering General Hospital’s GIRFT Lead, Dr Simon Hetherington, said: “We are enormously proud that the work we have done to improve patient care has been accepted as case studies for these important national reports. They are fine examples of how our teams have worked together, in collaboration with our health partners, to tackle very real issues in ways that benefit patients, save money, and highlight lessons for other NHS organisations.”