BACKGROUND: UK clinical guidance for lung cancer (NICE 141) includes pathways for chest X-rays (CXRs). Many patients fulfilling the criteria do not receive one, either because they do not consult their doctor or because their doctor does not refer them. The town of Corby, UK, has particularly high incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer and was chosen as a pilot site for a new, patient-requested X-ray service. METHODS: The number of community-initiated CXRs were compared before and after the introduction of the service and between similar geographical areas. Clinical data and patient questionnaires were analysed for those attending the service. RESULTS: There was a 63% increase in the total number of community-initiated CXRs in Corby for the year following the introduction of the service, compared with the year before. This was statistically greater than in surrounding geographical areas. Corby General Practitioners also requested 47% more CXRs than in the previous year. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of the service was associated with a significant increase in the numbers of clinically indicated CXRs in an area of high lung cancer incidence and mortality. The service attracted a clinically appropriate population. The numbers of cancers detected were in line with statistical expectations.
- primary care
- public health