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Partnership working in clinical oncology

A multi-professional approach to the delivery of non-surgical oncology services in the UK is of fundamental importance in optimising cancer care and achieving best outcomes.

The UK SACT Board

The UK Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) Board provides guidance, oversight and support for the continuing development of SACT services in the UK.

It was established in 2013 as the “UK Chemotherapy Board” by The Royal College of Radiologists, the Royal College of Physicians, the Association of Cancer Physicians, the Royal College of Pathologists, the British Oncology Pharmacy Association and the UK Oncology Nursing Society. The Board has representation from across the four UK nations and from other organisations closely involved in SACT services.

The Board was renamed the “UK SACT Board” in November 2022.

Visit the UK SACT Board website

The role of clinical oncologists

Clinical oncologists can deliver all non-surgical treatment modalities for cancer: radiotherapy (external beam, brachytherapy, proton beam therapy and molecular radiotherapy) and systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT – chemotherapy, immunotherapy, biological and hormonal therapies).

Working together for cancer care

Most clinical oncologists deliver some therapies in partnership with medical oncologists or haematologists, as well as with the wider multi-disciplinary team through skill mix. This enhances patient experience and the quality and cost-effectiveness of the service delivered. Shared governance, for example through peer review meetings, ensures ongoing professional development of all members of the team, medical and non-medical alike.

Increasingly, clinical oncologists participate in, and may lead, multiple teams comprising medical oncologists, haematologists and other independent practitioners from allied health professional groupings. This ensures that patients are treated in a timely fashion by a competent practitioner but that access to specialist clinical expertise is maintained for those with complex requirements.

National partnerships

This multi-professional partnership in non-surgical cancer care is supported by several committees which facilitate collaborative working by professional bodies at a national level on matters of policy, provision of expert opinion and delivery of professional guidance. The Radiotherapy Board and UK Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy Board have representation from across the four UK nations and from other organisations closely involved in radiotherapy and SACT services.

There are many areas of common interest to the clinical and medical oncology specialties. The Joint Collegiate Council for Oncology (JCCO) was established jointly by the RCR and the RCP to collaborate and advise on matters such as training, staffing, service needs and resources for the treatment of cancer.

Affiliated bodies

The following two bodies have each been affiliated to The Royal College of Radiologists through a Memorandum of Understanding:

  • UK SABR Consortium - the aim of the UK SABR Consortium is to improve the care and treatment of patients by developing Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) in the UK, through the provision of a multi-disciplinary educational forum and promotion of clinical and scientific research.
  • National Oncology Trainees Collaborative for Healthcare Research (NOTCH) - NOTCH has been established to increase the number of opportunities for clinical and medical oncology trainees to gain experience of, and training in, research.

In addition, the Molecular Radiotherapy (MRT) Consortium is affiliated to The Royal College of Radiologists through an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the British Nuclear Medicine Society. The MRT Consortium aims to improve equitable access to MRT delivery in the UK. It became part of the BNMS in 2023.

About us

We are The Royal College of Radiologists – the leading professional membership body for clinical radiologists and clinical oncologists, supporting doctors throughout their career so that they can make a real difference.

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