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Radiotherapy Consultation Formal NHS Response Published

In October 2017, NHS England launched a consultation to gain people’s views on a new clinical model for radiotherapy services across England, following a £130 million commitment to upgrade radiotherapy equipment.

The public consultation was live for three months, and 11, 542 online responses were received. Healthwatch Cornwall contributed to the consultation and was involved in round table discussions ensuring that patient experience was represented.

“People in Cornwall were worried about the implications of having to travel greater distances for their radiotherapy treatment. Transport was raised as an issue with concern over costs and arrangements of individuals and their families travelling to and from treatment centres “

“We were very concerned the proposed changes may lead to patients refusing treatment” said Amanda Stratford CEO of Healthwatch Cornwall.

Following analysis of responses, NHS England has now published the final specifications for radiotherapy services, as well as a formal response to the key themes raised.

Amanda is reassured by the outcome; “We welcome NHS England’s response to patient feedback and are delighted that they have listened to people from Cornwall and made changes to their plans, meaning there is no requirement to alter the current patient pathways for radiotherapy.”

“There is more emphasis on collaboration between providers and network arrangements which will come into being by 2021, ensuring that the way patients access radiotherapy care and treatment will be unchanged.”

The final specifications include setting up 11 Radiotherapy Operational Delivery Networks across England which will be operational from April 2019. They will be responsible for coordinating the radiotherapy services for their geographical area, ensuring adoption of best practice standards of care and improving patient access to advanced and innovative radiotherapy treatments.

NHS England will now commence a programme of implementation which will be phased to allow Networks to mature over a period of 2-3 years. There will be opportunities for clinicians, patient groups and members of the public to get involved in the development of this work through membership of Cancer Alliances and NHS England’s specialised commissioning Clinical Reference Groups.

You can read the full NHS response on the consultation here: