People with lingering chest symptoms can still access hassle-free chest X-rays at their local hospital.

Residents of Bury, Heywood, Rochdale and Middleton can take advantage of the service without having to see a GP or book an appointment in advance.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the NHS has reported a decrease in the number of people coming to hospitals to get checked for lung cancer.

The NHS is encouraging those experiencing ongoing symptoms which could indicate lung problems to keep coming forward and get checked out.

The scheme not only intends to offer peace of mind but to also highlight the cases which may need extra attention quickly, as conditions like lung cancer are much more treatable when they are caught early.

The initiative operates in the radiology departments at Fairfield Hospital, The Royal Oldham Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary, between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 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 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."

Anyone registered with a GP in Bury, Heywood, Middleton or Rochdale, who is over the age of 40, and who is experiencing the following symptoms for longer than three weeks, will be eligible to access this service without seeing their GP first:

• Cough

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pain

• Fatigue

• Weight loss

• Appetite loss

• Coughing up blood* (Patients with this symptom should see their GP as an emergency or call 111)

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.”

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