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NHS England Launches £130m investment in radiotherapy update

On 25th October 2016, Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens has announced a £130m investment to start the upgrade of radiotherapy equipment and transform cancer treatment across England.

In England, around 4 in 10 of all NHS cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy. Radiotherapy usually uses high-energy radiation from a machine called a Linac (linear accelerator) and is one of the three main cancer treatments, beside chemotherapy and cancer surgery.

Over the next two years, NHS has planned to replace or upgrade the older Linac radiotherapy equipment that are being used by hospitals across the country. The new plan is introduced to ensure every cancer patients get access to the latest leading edge technology regardless of where they live.

It is recommended that the LINACs be replaced after 10 years of use, but the last major investment in NHS radiotherapy machines was in the early 2000s.

NHS England said that the new £130m investment pays for over 100 replacements or upgrades of radiotherapy machines in hospitals around England. The fund will enable half of the 5 years modernisation programme recommended by the Independent Cancer Taskforce.

Simon Stevens said NHS England has started the biggest single upgrade in NHS cancer treatment for at least the last fifteen years. The modern LINACS and software will mean hundreds of thousands of patients will now benefit from huge advances in precision cancer treatment across England.

The National Director for Cancer at NHS England, Cally Palmer noted that primary care physicians made over 1.7 million urgent referrals to investigate cancer symptoms in 2015.

She said the new investment to modernise radiotherapy services will ensure that all cancer patients have access to the best technology available.

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