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Proton therapy and other cancer treatments must be top priority

07 September 2014

Consultation with patientSociety of Radiographers urges TUC Congress to support motion to put pressure on government to increase resources for radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging services.

The lack of commitment to adequate funding of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging services will be slammed at the TUC Congress next week.

The Society of Radiographers, whose members deliver these services, will call on the conference delegates to put pressure on the government to raise investment in healthcare services to similar levels as other countries in the European Union.

“The frustration that people feel at the lack of investment in critical care was embodied this week in the sad case of Aysha King,” said Paul Moloney, the Society's trade union and industrial relations manager.

“Aysha’s parents felt that it was necessary to go overseas to try and access treatment options for their son’s brain tumour,” he continued.

“Proton beam therapy will not be available in the UK until 2018, ten years after it was introduced in Germany. UK patients who need this treatment have to travel overseas at a cost to the NHS of more than £90,000 each.

“There is also a growing critical issue around the provision of diagnostic services such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. Demand is growing but the government has failed to increase funding of equipment and train the staff needed.”

The Society is asking for an immediate review so that health and care services meet the needs of the population.

ENDS

Notes for Editor

Notes to editor 1. The TUC Congress 2014 takes place from Sunday, 7 September - Wednesday, 10 September at the BT Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool. 2. Proton treatment is a specialised and highly targeted method of delivering radiotherapy. Key advantages are that normal tissue is exposed to relatively small amounts of radiation and the side-effects which patients, particularly children, can suffer as a result of traditional forms of cancer treatment are reduced. 3. In 2012 the government announced that two proton beam therapy facilities at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be built but they will not be completed until 2018. They will treat around 1500 patients a year. For further information please contact Paul Moloney on 0785 063 9709 or 020 7740 7254 or by email on PaulM@sor.org or contact Dominic Deeson on 0795 784 5238 / 01227 469060.

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