NHS patientsâ€™ missing-out on radiotherapy treatment
Early in 2014, the Sunday Times kicked-off a campaign to give more people who would benefit from radiotherapy access to it, suggesting that NHS radiotherapy equipment is either out-dated or underutilised.
According to Lawrence Dallaglio, the former English rugby captain who campaigns for increased access to radiotherapy, â€œCancer clinicians are being denied the use of technologies to treat patients that the rest of the civilised world uses as a matter of routine.â€
Dallaglioâ€™s intervention prompted a government plan to improve access to quality radiotherapy. Is it happening?
Radiotherapy in England
The UK governmentâ€™s 2011 cancer plan, Improving Outcomes: a Strategy for Cancer, states, â€œTo improve outcomes from radiotherapy, there must be equitable access to high quality, safe, timely, protocol-driven quality-controlled services focused around patientsâ€™ needs.â€
Over 50% of the 275,000 people diagnosed in England with cancer each year could benefit from radiotherapy as part of their treatment. However, access rates are only around 38%, and each year an estimated 36,000 patients who might benefit from radiotherapy, donâ€™t receive it.