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5. The Role of Community Liaison Expert Radiographer Practitioner

The role of the community liaison expert radiographer practitioner is envisaged as operating at a strategic level based within the cancer network, across a group of Primary Care Trusts and in the community setting. 

This post would potentially reduce calls on medical staff time, improving waiting time targets and improving the service for patients.

The role would focus on liaison outside the Cancer Centre to promote effective working with other health professionals involved in the patient pathway, taking an overview on the timeliness of patient information throughout the radiotherapy pathway to dovetail with patient care either side of the pathway.

The community liaison expert radiographer practitioner may have overall responsibility for ILS services delivered by the radiotherapy team within the department but would not be expected to maintain an individual case load.

They would be responsible for maintaining currency in relation to radiotherapy practice to ensure the delivery of up to date patient information and information about treatment regimes for professionals outside the radiotherapy department. 

The maintenance of high quality care for patients can only be achieved by accurate and current information for both patients and staff involved in their care. Myths and misinformation about radiotherapy outside the profession often persist as new techniques and practices outstrip knowledge acquired during initial training. The provision and implementation of an educational strategy would be a key aspect of the role.
A network-wide educational strategy would also have the potential to promote the uptake of radiotherapy for the increasing number of patients who could benefit from this form of cancer treatment but who do not currently receive it(2).

The consultant role would provide an expert resource to other health professionals in terms of radiotherapy service provision, co-ordinating advice on acute and long term radiation reactions as more patients survive cancer as a long term condition.

The potential exists for joint working with professionals such as community pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to maximise quality of life during treatment and beyond for the cancer survivor.

One consultant role is envisaged operating at lead PCT level / cancer network level, though networks with more than one radiotherapy centre may wish to consider additional roles to respond to the specific geographical needs of the service.

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