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9. Summary of Survey Findings

9.1 The number of urology/prostate specialist roles identified in March 2015 was 25, which is an increase of 10 from the previous year. The posts are within 18 cancer centres; a further 20 centres reported that they did not have a urology/prostate specialist. While progress is being made with specialist role development, it can be inferred that at least half of cancer centres do not have prostate/urology specialists in post, despite the demonstrable increase in referrals. Encouragingly, 22 centres stated that they planned to introduce either a prostate or urology specialist role in the future but in 12 of these cases it was only an idea under discussion.  

9.2 Brachytherapy, clinic review and information radiographer roles are present in approximately three quarters of centres that responded. In most cases, they include the care and treatment of men with prostate cancer and could potentially be seen as a ‘pool’ from which prostate/urology specialist roles might be drawn in the future. Further analysis of the data was undertaken to see what relationship, if any, existed between the presence of brachytherapy, clinic review and information specialist roles, and prostate/urology posts. Only two (2) cancer centres indicated in the survey that they employ all of these specialists in addition to a prostate/urology specialist radiographer. A further seven (7) have information radiographers, eight (8) have brachytherapy radiographers and fourteen (14) have clinic review specialists. 

9.3 Palliative care roles with a significant component of care involving patients with prostate cancer are present in five (5) centres who responded. Fifteen (15) centres have indicated that there are plans at various stages of development to introduce this component of specialist care.

9.4 Overall, the results demonstrate that, over the past 15 years, national policy drivers1,2,12,13,14,15,16 and the increase in the complexity of the radiotherapy pathway have resulted in a variety of advanced and consultant roles being developed in cancer centres to support patient-centred care and treatment that is as focussed and streamlined as possible. This includes a significant focus on men with prostate cancer, to improve service quality and skills mix.

9.5 The NHS strategic priorities include ensuring that all its workforce skills are optimised and services configured around the needs of patients.3 It seems that the cancer centres who responded to this survey are working towards achieving their priorities, consistent with their organisational structures and workforce development plans. 

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