From 12th April 2022 to 7th June 2022, the Scottish Government carried out a mass consultation on their new cancer strategy, which sought to understand what should be prioritized as we begin to look beyond the pandemic. In our response to this, we explained that we welcome and support Scotland’s National Radiotherapy Plan, and its commitment to a rolling £45 million program of funding into the replacement of ageing equipment but stress the necessity of continued maintenance and strengthening of these measures to ensure greater cancer care and delivery in Scotland.
We believe that main problems with radiotherapy in Scotland and the UK as a whole are insufficient access to treatment, with only 27% of UK cancer patients receiving radiotherapy, compared to the recommendation of 53-60%, an underfunded workforce and inadequate access to the latest technological advances in radiotherapy, perpetuated by bureaucracy, perverse tariffs and red tape. Our recommendation, therefore, is continued focus and investment into the expansion of capacity and access to radiotherapy:
· We believe that the current situation, where some patients in rural parts of the country are required to travel up to three hours to receive radiotherapy treatment is unsustainable and must be rectified.
· We would like to see greater investment into the radiotherapy workforce, including oncologists and medical physicists.
· We further hope that clinicians can be empowered through data-gathering efforts and the establishment UK-wider cancer database.
· Further expansion of SABR also ought to be of the utmost importance in Scotland, given the high incidence of lung cancer.
The Scottish Government’s plans to secure earlier diagnoses, shorten time to treatment and increase survival rates, will only be met if the correct treatment options are in place. Radiotherapy contributes to 40% of cancer cures and 1 in 2 patients will receive radiotherapy throughout their treatment. Therefore, we know that continued investment in radiotherapy is vital to achieving the government’ goals.
You can view our full response to the consultation here
Twitter: RTUK Responds to the Scottish Government’s New Cancer Strategy Consultation, supporting Scotland’s National Radiotherapy Plan, while stressing the importance of maintaining and further improving radiotherapy provision in Scotland, reducing travel times and expanding the workforce.