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7. Summary and recommendations

The role of the community liaison expert radiographer practitioner is seen as essential in ensuring the quality of the patient experience before, during and after radiotherapy. 

Existing information and support specialist radiographers currently operate at the level of advanced practitioners, mainly providing individual patient care and building upon that provided by the generalist radiotherapy practitioner and assistant practitioner.

The strategic role of the consultant/expert practitioner appears undeveloped at this stage, reducing the potential to improve the patient experience and increase knowledge about radiotherapy in the wider community. Without specific focussed work and identified resources, it appears unlikely that the potential will be realised.

It is recommended that:

  1. Service managers review practice in relation to information, liaison and support; identifying specific roles and means of extending links into the community to improve the patient experience,
  2. the College of Radiographers support the development of a network to provide a good practice forum in the field of information, liaison and support,
  3. commissioners identify resources to enable the role of the community liaison expert radiographer practitioner to be developed further. Current financial restrictions have been focussed on waiting time targets and have capped expenditure on this type of activity within radiotherapy departments,
  4. Strategic Health Authorities consider funding three year secondments to explore the potential for the strategic role in a range of different cancer network structures,
  5. the pilot roles should be developed with academic input co-ordinated across pilot sites, incorporating formal evaluation with yearly milestones.

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