Society gives evidence to radiotherapy parliamentary group

Published: 04 July 2019 Ezine

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Radiotherapy is conducting an inquiry into the current and future state of radiotherapy provision across the UK, and the SCoR has been providing evidence. 

After submitting written evidence both as a professional body and also as part of the UK Radiotherapy Board, the Society and College was also invited to participate in a panel meeting at Westminster.

Along with representatives from the Royal College of Radiologists, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, Cancer Research UK, radiotherapy service managers, and the Institute of Cancer Research, the SCoR director of professional policy, Charlotte Beardmore delivered a powerful message about key issues for optimal service delivery and patient care including:

  • Workforce increase required: the impact of change from bursary to loan, loss of funding and impact for mature students, opportunities and barriers to the implementation of pre-registration apprenticeships
  • Investment in equipment and infrastructure/connectivity across radiotherapy networks is essential
  • To increase the profile of radiotherapy as a core part of cancer care to ensure appropriate overall Investment to meet need
  • The current funding mechanisms for service delivery (tariff) are outdated and are not the optimal vehicle to encourage best practice
  • Opportunity to provide quicker access to new proven treatments; the current system of commissioning through evaluation could be streamlined

Whilst it was acknowledged there is fabulous care delivered by all professionals across the patient pathway, a comprehensive survey on clinical staff across the country identified current staff shortages as a barrier to providing efficient cancer treatments and excellent patient experience. There exist:

  • Missed opportunities for service improvement
  • Insufficient capacity to undertake clinical research
  • Downgrading of patient experience
  • Competition for scarce staff numbers in the local labour market
  • Workforce shortages limiting the capacity of services to plan for the future
  • Inefficient use of the workforce skills and experience
  • Decreased staff wellbeing and morale

The APPG will also be consulting with NHS England and other stakeholders and will formulate a plan to take this evidence forward. The group also intend to follow up with a focussed question in parliament about the impact of the loss of the radiography bursary. 

Download the SCoR evidence to the APPG.
Download the Radiotherapy Board evidence.