Lungs, Life and the Weed
The Health and Wellbeing Board met earlier this week and I thought I would highlight a couple of really exciting developments that will save lives. The first is a lung screening programme that has been piloted in part of North Manchester and will now be rolled out across the North, the part of the city with the biggest health problems.
The programme uses a mobile unit in a community setting and is targeted at smokers and ex-smokers. Smoking is the biggest cause of respiratory diseases including lung cancer, and in Manchester most lung cancer cases are found far too late, and for stage 4 lung cancer the chances of remission are slim indeed. This programme offers community based screening, is quick and in the pilot, 42 people were found with lung cancers but with 80% early stage and 90% able to be offered curative treatment options.
The rate of smoking attributable deaths in Manchester is the highest in the country largely because we have higher smoking rates, making people poorer as well as poorlier. CURE might be part of the solution. This is a smoking cessation service it is planned to offer to all patients admitted to hospital with at the same time all Manchester’s hospitals and their grounds becoming complete non-smoking zones. CURE treats smoking as an addiction ie an illness, not as a life style choice. It’s based on a scheme developed in Ottawa, Canada and if it as successful here it will save over a thousand hospital admissions at year 1, save 610 lives, and 3,503 smokers would have quit.
Interesting piece in Manchester Confidential this week, asking the question has Manchester lost its spirit in the wake of recent economic success. It was a balanced piece but some of quotes included I think suffered from a rose-tinted specs view of the city’s past. I came to Manchester in 1979 and by the middle of the following decade what spirit the city had left had been pretty much kicked out of it. In our Victorian heyday the city grew by attracting doers from around the world. That’s what’s happening now and that in no small part because, far from losing its spirit, it’s got its spirit back.