New “drop-in” x-ray service launches for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale residents with on-going coughs in a bid to catch cancer early

Friday 08 July 2022

NHS teams are encouraging members of the public with lingering chest symptoms to get them checked out via a new, no-appointment necessary service at their local hospital.

Launching on Monday 11 July, members of the public from Bury, Heywood, Rochdale and Middleton are able to attend their local hospital for a chest x-ray, without needing to see a GP and without the need to book an appointment, if they have on-going symptoms that could indicate lung problems.

It is hoped that the free chest x-rays will not only offer peace of mind for many, but in some cases identify conditions that need further attention, such as lung cancer, which is much more treatable when diagnosed early.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer within Greater Manchester and NHS services reported the number of people coming forward for lung cancer checks and diagnoses reduce during the COVID pandemic. The new service is expected to help to identify other patients who may be at risk.

Anyone aged 40 or over, who is registered with a GP in Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale will be eligible to go straight for an x-ray without seeing their GP first, if they have had one of these symptoms for more than three weeks:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Coughing up blood

The service will be operating in the radiology departments at Fairfield Hospital, The Royal Oldham Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary, between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-12pm on Saturdays.

Dr Seamus Grundy, a Consultant Respiratory Physician working in Greater Manchester, said: “We know people live busy lives and often don’t feel able to take time out of their day to make an appointment to get checked, so we’re offering this service to the public as an easy way to check for any potential lung problems. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned please don’t put it off – come along for a chest x-ray. It could be that peace of mind you need, and if we do find anything that needs attention, we can arrange any further tests or treatment you might need.”

Julie Colville, a lung cancer patient from South Manchester, said: “Nobody wants to hear they have a health problem and especially not something like lung cancer. But it’s crucial to know if something isn’t quite right so that you can get treatment if you need it. I’d encourage anyone who meets the criteria for this new service to go along for your chest x-ray to get some peace of mind – finding out early is everything.”

Dr Carolyn Walker, a GP from NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care (Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale), said: “There are lots of reasons why you might experience symptoms like a cough and most of the time these won’t turn out to be anything serious. However, it’s really important that we identify those people that may have more serious conditions requiring treatment, such as cancer, which is much more treatable when found early.

It’s also important to emphasise that anyone who is worried about any type of cancer should still speak to their GP practice as soon as possible – we’re here to help you.”

The new initiative for patients in Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale is the first stage of a pilot which hopes to improve patient outcomes in lung cancer in the area. It represents a Joint Working partnership between the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and AstraZeneca UK.

Gero Struebbe, Franchise Head of Lung Cancer & Immuno-Oncology for AstraZeneca UK said: “We are proud to partner with Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance to support this service, which aligns with the AstraZeneca UK ambition to drive earlier diagnoses and treatment to improve lung cancer outcomes in the UK.” 

This service launches on Monday 11 July 2022.