Radiotherapy kills cancer. Radiotherapy saves lives. We are campaigning for a modern, world-class radiotherapy service. A campaign to stop people dying and suffering needlessly by developing a world-class patient-first radiotherapy service in the UK to help boost the UK’s cancer survival rates to be the best in the developed world, rather than among the worst.
What needs to happen
- Currently only 5% of cancer budget is used on radiotherapy and this has not changed in 20 years. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for radiotherapy estimate that 6.5% of the budget needs to be allocated for radiotherapy to ensure there is up to date equipment and IT, and that new departments nearer people’s homes are opened.
- More funding is needed to increase the work force by 10% so that trained staff can use the specialist machines.
- A radiotherapy Tsar needs to be appointed with the power to ensure that all the technology and trained staff are in the right place. Ensuring radiotherapy can be delivered across the UK and not just in some areas.
- The commissioning of radiotherapy has to change to ensure Trusts are encouraged (not discouraged) to deliver the best modern radiotherapy tailored for a patient’s individual cancer and not restrict radiotherapy services.
What is needed and why
Economic case for better Radiotherapy
- Better radiotherapy is relatively cheap (£3-6K) per cancer treatment and will improve survival (currently UK still worse survival than Europe).
- radiotherapy is underused in the UK (27% of patients receiving it compared with 53% international recommendations). Wider use of radiotherapy will save money.
- With early diagnosis being promised with the Long-Term NHS plan, much more advanced radiotherapy will be needed to ensure early diagnosis is translated into better survival
- The economic case in terms of investment needed to cure cancer vs spending later on expensive chemotherapy when cancer is not cured will save the NHS millions of pounds which can then be used elsewhere. Radiotherapy is 8 x more effective than chemotherapy, yet not sufficiently prioritised as there is no industry lobby
What do we need the money for?
- Workforce: We need increased spending on workforce in medical physics, therapeutic radiographers, and clinical oncologists. Reinstate the therapeutic radiographer bursary. Increase the number of radiotherapy consultants (clinical oncologists (by 70 per year)
- Funding for IT for new networks to allow connectivity and speed
- Equipment and installation Trusts need to be provided with enough funding to install radiotherapy equipment, purchase software and necessary licences, and know there is a rolling replacement programme
What reorganisation do we need?
- Central rolling programme for machine replacements so that machines are replaced every ten years with full support for licences, IT connectivity and installation
- Removal of the current tariff which disincentivises Trusts and is perverse-allow adequate funding for the best radiotherapy for an individual’s cancer
- Joined up strategy across NHS organisations: NHSE, HHE, NHSI, NHS Digital
How you can help
- Email your MP asking them to email the Secretary of State for Health requesting more money and better organisation of cancer services
- Support the R4L campaign by letting us know your story, becoming a patient advocate, raise awareness of the campaign on social media donate funding to help us raise awareness of radiotherapy, sign the change.org petition.
Hard statistics on the current problems
- 10% of therapeutic radiographer training course have closed in last year due to lack of applications, removal of the bursary has meant the cost for the course is too high.
- 10% of the radiotherapy consultant posts are unfilled. There are not enough training posts, the number of training posts needs to double with immediate effect.
Access to RT
- 20 000 patients a year not getting access to the RT they need
- 3.5 million people in England live more than the recommended 45min from a RT centre and yet planned RT satellite centres have not been funded.
- (SBRT) is being restricted in the NHS to a few centres.
- Resulting in up to 1000 lives lost in last 5 years alone