RCR welcomes plan to transform radiotherapy provision for cancer patients in the face of coronavirus backlog

Monday 6 July 2020

The RCR has welcomed a six-point plan (PDF) from MPs calling for radiotherapy to be put at the heart of cancer recovery services to meet the anticipated demand for cancer treatment as a result of coronavirus.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy (APPG) is urging the Government to act quickly, recognising radiotherapy’s hugely curative potential, its cost-effectiveness and, importantly, its safety as a form of cancer treatment, as evidenced by near-normal levels of radiotherapy provision throughout the pandemic. 

However, greater investment and resourcing is urgently needed to ensure radiotherapy is made accessible and available to the rising numbers of cancer patients caught in the backlog for treatment, in order to reverse years of under-funding. Included in the six-point plan are calls for a national taskforce to galvanise and drive radiotherapy services forward; investment in IT and technology; new radiotherapy machines and workforce expansion.

Dr Jeanette Dickson, RCR President said:

“As the professional body representing a key part of the multi-disciplinary team delivering radiotherapy, the RCR supports the APPG’s plan urging rapid investment in radiotherapy in order to provide the best possible care for cancer patients. Prior to the pandemic, the oncology workforce was already overstretched, using a significant number of ageing and inefficient radiotherapy machines and working around haphazard IT infrastructure. Now more than ever, funding and leadership is required to ensure radiotherapy can meet the likely increased demand for treatment.

"As clinicians we see the benefits of radiotherapy on our patients every day, and we want to make sure those benefits are available to all who need them in the future.

"I commend the plan and the endeavours of the APPG in raising this vital issue.”