The National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway (NOLCP), produced by the Lung Clinical Expert Group established by NHS England, was published in August 2017. It was developed to help lung cancer patients get diagnosed more quickly and at an earlier stage, when treatment could be more effective.

The NOLCP recommends changes and improvements in the whole lung pathway from prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and improving patient experience. It is a national initiative and all of the cancer alliances in England are expected to play a key role in supporting and facilitating implementation in their local areas.

We identified a Trust in each of our STP areas – London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust in north west London, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in south west London – to deliver the first wave of implementation.

Both sites began accepting patients onto the NOLCP in January 2018.

A new urgent chest X-ray referral form and a patient information leaflet have been produced for GPs to use in their consultations with patients.

Benefits to the new pathway include:

  • Faster turnaround and reporting times, leading to shortened time to diagnosis, enabling patients to progress rapidly to any treatment required.
  • Potential avoidance of emergency admission through straight to CT for abnormal chest X-rays and the prompt triage and management of abnormal CTs.
  • Improved one-year survival.
  • Improved patient experience through having a patient navigator as a single point of contact.
  • Increased number of patients treated within the 62 day target.

The project will be running until March 2019, when the pathway will begin to be rolled out to other Trusts.

For more information please contact Katie Morris, project lead.