We aimed to evaluate the effect of the appointment of a dedicated specialist thoracic surgeon on surgical practice for lung cancer previously served by cardio-thoracic surgeons. Outcomes were compared for the 240 patients undergoing surgical resection for lung cancer in two distinct 3-year periods: Group A: 65 patients, 1994-1996 (pre-specialist); Group B: 175 patients, 1997-1999 (post-specialist). The changes implemented resulted in a significant increase in resection rate (from 12.2 to 23.4%, P < 0.001), operations in the elderly (over 75 years) and extended resections. There were no significant differences in stage distribution, in-hospital mortality or stage-specific survival after surgery. Lung cancer surgery provided by specialists within a multidisciplinary team resulted in increased surgical resection rates without compromising outcome. Our results strengthen the case for disease-specific specialists in the treatment of lung cancer.