Coronavirus (COVID-19) - November 2020
The Radiotherapy Board recognises the significant challenges that have been faced by radiotherapy professionals in continuing to deliver safe, high-quality treatment and care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. These have included the personal impact of a COVID-19 diagnosis and its lasting effects, both individually and within close family. The impact on radiotherapy staff has been significant, including personal separation and loss, and many are accessing available support functions and networks to aid their mental and physical health.
Despite all of this, the radiotherapy community has ensured - and continues to ensure - that services are available to the patients who need them, regardless of their COVID status, during and beyond local, regional and national lockdowns. Furthermore, the community has rapidly implemented innovative, evidence-based treatment schedules to provide safe yet equally effective treatment at this time - for example by reducing the number of visits required for treatment or, in some cases, offering radiotherapy in place of other treatments such as surgery. Patients with suspected cancer are therefore actively encouraged to come forward for investigation and those referred for radiotherapy should still present for treatment.
As radiotherapy services implement recovery, restoration and reconfiguration plans, the Board recognises the fresh challenges that this presents, especially during a second wave of the pandemic. Compassionate and effective support of all staff and trainees is essential in providing the ongoing safe delivery of these services, critically required to prevent further avoidable cancer deaths.
The Board does not underestimate the challenges faced, nor the impact on staff and patients. It continues to commend the advice, support and guidance issued by its constituent partner bodies – the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, The Royal College of Radiologists and the Society and College of Radiographers – as well as the advice provided nationally (which is available through onward links on all three professional body websites).
The Radiotherapy Board provides guidance, oversight and support for the continuing development of high-quality radiotherapy services for cancer patients in the UK.
Established in 2013 by The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR), and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), it has representation from across the four UK nations and from other organisations closely involved in radiotherapy services.
The Board’s priorities are:
- Workforce – advising stakeholders and policy-makers about future workforce requirements, to ensure a trained, skilled and flexible, multi-disciplinary radiotherapy workforce
- Guidance – providing professional guidance to underpin the highest professional standards of radiotherapy service delivery
- Equipment – promoting the need for sufficient radiotherapy equipment to meet increasing patient demand and provide a high-quality service.
The Board's current work programme includes:
- Guidance on the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment delivery
- Supporting the ongoing development of the Radiotherapy Dataset
- Guidance on radiation exposure related to treatment verification
- Close collaboration with the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group to maximise clinical trial participation.
Further information about the Radiotherapy Board is available in this interview with the Board's 2017/18 Chair, Mr John Burton.
Meeting dates for 2021:
- Thursday 18 March
- Thursday 24 June
- Thursday 4 November
For enquiries about the Radiotherapy Board, please write to the Chair via the Radiotherapy Board Secretariat at The Royal College of Radiologists.