Between 2017 and 2019, alongside Sherwood MP Mark Spencer, I lobbied Government for targeted lung health screenings in our coalfield communities, to help identify and get early treatment for people across Mansfield and wider Nottinghamshire.
Due to both high smoking rates and our coalfield history, our area has a high prevalence for lung conditions, especially cancer, and it remains abundantly clear how important it is to catch these diseases as soon as possible.
This lobbying resulted in a Mansfield and Ashfield pilot programme, which has since screened over 46,000 ‘at risk' local people and helped to identify cancers early, improving the outcomes for those people and saving lives.
I was really pleased to see Government take on board the results of this programme for our area, and to find out last week that the programme is now being rolled out nationally.
It has clearly been shown to be beneficial both in terms of health outcomes and in preventing more expensive treatments later on. A real success story and now a billion pound investment nationally in preventative care.
Given the impact this has made in just a small part of the country, it’s clearly going to make a big difference in coalfield communities elsewhere, particularly improving the quality of life for many of those who’ve been at the forefront of our coal mining past.
I’m proud of how far we have come in Mansfield on preventative care overall, we really have made some big strides forward in recent years.
I’ve worked with colleagues like Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, our local hospital at Kings Mill, and with Government to see what extra support could come to our part of the world. It really has been a top priority for me as Mansfield’s MP.
That’s why it’s fantastic to see our town regularly at the front of the queue when it comes to things like lung health screening and receiving the first of many new Community Diagnostic Centres currently being rolled out nationwide.
Announced in February this year, our Community Diagnostic Centre will be based at the Community Hospital and help deliver an extra 117,000 checks per year, deliver early diagnosis and rapidly speed up access to treatment for patients.
These centres will also play a huge role in reducing NHS waiting lists, with more early diagnosis hopefully resulting in less complicated treatments overall.
Through this investment, Mansfield is at the heart of Government’s commitment to ensure diagnostic tests are given to 95% of patients within 6 weeks by March 2025.
It’s right that especially since Covid, we continue to prioritise people’s health and wellbeing in order to grow the economy.
Ensuring that our local healthcare system is tailored to the needs of those living in the communities around it will provide more reliability and reassurance for patients, opening up more alternatives for quicker treatment, and crucially providing better outcomes for everyone.