Frequently asked questions for Patients

What is the National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA)?

This is a national clinical audit assessing the quality of services and care provided to individuals with lung cancer in England and Wales. The National Lung Cancer Audit collects clinical information about the treatment of all patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer in England and Wales and information about their outcomes.

The audit began collecting data nationally in 2005, and since then has become as exemplar of national cancer audit. The audit was previously run by the Royal College of Physicians. From 1 February 2022, the NLCA will be delivered by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

What is clinical audit?

Clinical audit is a method that health care professionals use to look at and improve patient care by comparing how patients are treated and the outcomes of care against set standards and guidelines.

In a clinical audit, information on the care received by patients is collected and analysed to see if individual clinicians and hospitals are following national clinical standards, such as those published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). These audits also produce information for hospitals to compare their outcomes of care with other hospitals.

Who is running the NLCA?

The NLCA is run by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS). The audit is also delivered in partnership with the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation representing lung cancer patients and their carers, the Wales Cancer Network, the Lung Cancer Nursing UK and the British Thoracic Oncology Group. We are funded by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme. The day to day running of the NLCA is based at the RCS and is managed by a project team including clinicians, audit experts and cancer information specialists.

Why is the NLCA looking at the care of  patients with lung cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer with over 44,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK after breast cancer and is the commonest cause of cancer-related death. The National Lung Cancer Audit was developed in response to the findings that outcomes for lung cancer patients in the UK lagged behind those in other westernised countries, and varied considerably between organisations in the UK.

We want to make sure that patients with lung cancer receive the best care throughout England and Wales. We communicate our findings to hospitals about the areas of lung cancer they are doing well in and where they could improve. The results will able be available to the public and patients.

Which patients are included in the NLCA?

Clinical information is collected for all patients diagnosed with lung cancer in England and Wales.

Which hospitals takes part in the NLCA?

All NHS hospitals in England and Wales that offer lung cancer care participate in the NLCA.

How are patient data being collected?

We use information about patients that has been collected by national organisations in England and Wales. These organisations include the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) and the Wales Cancer Network (WCN) in Wales. These organisations are allowed to collect data on patients diagnosed with cancer. Further information about these organisations, the data they collect and how you can opt out can be found here.

I have a question that is not answered in the FAQs

For all queries related to the NLCA, please contact us.

Last updated: 23 February 2022, 9:15am