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Radiographers welcome cancer taskforce report but question if resources will be provided

19 July 2015

The professional body and trade union which represents the health professionals who provide diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy services say they agree with the findings of the Independent Cancer Taskforce, but are pessimistic that many of the changes can be delivered unless substantial investment is made in staffing and equipment.

Responding to the publication of ‘Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015 -2020’, the Society and College of Radiographers says that to deliver the increasing demand for fast and accurate cancer diagnosis significantly more trained staff will be required and working patterns will have to change.

“We will also need major capital investment in radiotherapy, with a far-reaching modernisation programme to replace ageing and out-of-date machines,” commented Charlotte Beardmore, the SCoR’s Director of Professional Policy.

“Our view is that the taskforce is right in outlining what needs to happen and how to address the issues that need to be overcome, but we fear that the government will lack the will to put in place what is needed to deliver both the diagnostic and cancer treatment services that will put England on a par with the best in the world,” she continued.

Ends

Notes for Editor

1. The SCoR submitted evidence to the Independent Cancer Taskforce. The key points are: a. Improved screening/access to diagnostics is essential to manage earlier referrals and enable swifter diagnosis. b. A chronic shortage of ultrasonographers must be addressed to enable patients with suspected cancer to have access to safe and effective ultrasound services. c. Access to radiotherapy care closer to patients’ homes. d. Some radiotherapy centres are struggling to replace ageing and out of date machines and the situation is getting worse. By 2017 it is estimated that 45% of linear accelerators will be past their recommended replacement date. e. There is a continuing shortage of therapeutic radiographers to deliver radiotherapy treatment. Numbers have been growing, but not sufficiently to keep up with growing demand. 2. The Society and College of Radiographers is the professional body and trade union for all members of the radiographic workforce in the UK. More than 27,000 radiographers and other professionals are members of the organisation. 3. Details of the ‘Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015 -2020’ are at http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-taskforce 4. For further information contact Dominic Deeson on 0795 784 5238 or 01227 469060.

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