Annex I: Radiotherapy Equipment Replacement Programme
The 5 Cancer Centres in Scotland have had a co-ordinated national equipment replacement programme in place since 1998 and this programme has been instrumental in ensuring that radiotherapy equipment in Scotland has been replaced in an efficient manner. The continued delivery of cancer access targets is in part due to the timely replacement of ageing equipment.
The timing of replacement of equipment reflects current national recommendations and the programme is managed and monitored by the National Radiotherapy Programme Board with the equipment financed from a ring fenced Scottish Government allocation.
The objective of the national equipment replacement programme is to achieve maximum benefit in terms of value for money, equipment, clinical requirements and ultimately treatment delivery. The programme ensures that Radiotherapy equipment is replaced with leading technology which enables departments to introduce cutting edge treatments for the benefit of cancer patients.
The introduction of new technology ensures that all 5 Cancer Centres can deliver treatment within national objectives and ensures that equipment is replaced in a timely manner. There is continuous improvement in the quality of the Radiotherapy treatment service, and equity of access to radiotherapy services across Scotland is ensured due to similar equipment being installed across the country.
In order to meet the Scottish Governments desire to make more specialised radiotherapy techniques more widely available all machines replaced are now provided with the ability to provide advanced treatment techniques. The new machines will enable Radiotherapy departments to increase the number of patients receiving advanced treatments within standard ten minute treatment slots and thus help preserve machine capacity whilst delivering optimum complex treatments. The advanced treatments will also increase the chances of cure while also reducing the radiation dosage to the patient. Clinicians in Scotland aim to offer advanced radiotherapy treatments to 30% of patients within 12-18 months. These advanced treatments enable dose to be delivered more precisely on the tumour and spares more healthy tissue from exposure.
The treatment machines in Scotland have the capability to treat in excess of 40 patients per day and the new machines can maintain this throughput and meet both the current and projected increases in clinical workloads. The new machines enable advanced treatments to be delivered in less than two minutes rather than the 15-20 minutes needed for conventional radiotherapy treatments.
The radiotherapy equipment replacement programme provides people in Scotland with a safe, reliable radiotherapy service able to deliver modern techniques. Without this national replacement programme the service could become vulnerable and impact on patient care.
Email: Gillian McCallum
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