UCLH benefits from radiotherapy investment 

07/12/2016 00:00 
UCLH is the first London hospital trust to benefit from a major national investment in NHS radiotherapy machines announced by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens yesterday.

Across England, 15 hospital trusts will get new linear accelerators (Linacs) to deliver radiotherapy to cancer patients in the first wave of investment totalling £130 million.

Mr Stevens announced the names of the 15 hospital trusts at the Britain Against Cancer conference.

Dr Yen-Ching Chang, UCLH clinical lead in radiotherapy said: "This is very welcome news. At UCLH, we have four linear accelerators and have just replaced one after 10 years of service with the aim of replacing the remaining three.

"We see more than 1,800 radiotherapy patients a year, and last year we provided more than 29,000 radiotherapy treatment episodes. This investment will ensure that we are able to continue to provide our patients with the most technically advanced radiotherapy.

Around four in 10 of all NHS cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, which typically uses high-energy radiation from a Linac. Radiotherapy is one of the three main cancer treatments, alongside cancer surgery and chemotherapy.

It is recommended that Linacs are replaced after around 10 years in operation, however the last time there was a major national investment in NHS radiotherapy machines was in the early 2000s.

Recent advances in radiotherapy using cutting-edge imaging and computing technology have helped target radiation doses at cancer cells more precisely. This has resulted in better outcomes, including improved survival and quality of life with patients experiencing fewer side effects, thereby reducing NHS costs in the long term.

The NHS is successfully treating more people with cancer – with 134,000 radiotherapy treatment episodes, and over 150,000 patients receiving chemotherapy last year – and overall, patients continue to report a very good experience of care.


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