An inquiry by members of parliament into access to radiotherapy and whether it meets demand, has found that cancer patients "are likely to be missing out on the radiotherapy they need."
The report - Radiotherapy: Securing the future of Britain’s secret lifesaver- has been published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy (APPGRT), and includes evidence from the Society and other organisations.
Tim Farron MP, the chair of the APPGRT, has repeatedly said that patients do not have sufficient access to radiotherapy because of long travel times, particularly in rural areas.
Other issues highlighted in the report are workforce shortages and the ‘archaic system’ that pays NHS trusts per fraction of radiotherapy delivered, rather than for a course of treatment. It also questions a lack of investment in information technology.
"Urgent reform is needed if patients are to benefit," the report concludes.
Charlotte Beardmore, the Society's director of professional policy, welcomed the cross-party research. "Having the support of a distinguished group of MPs from across the political spectrum who are committed to more investment for radiotherapy, as well as understanding and highlighting the issues that are preventing patients from receiving treatment, is key to providing evidence to help policymakers understand."
The APPGRT are to request that the House of Commons Select Committee on Health and Social Care undertake a formal inquiry "to ensure that more patients’ lives can be saved by better organisation and funding for this important service."