Radiotherapy plan launched with £1.2m for high dose treatment

The document set out 13 key goals to be met by March 2025.

Radiotherapy plan launched with £1.2m for high dose treatment iStock
Radiotherapy: New funding for treatments.

A new radiotherapy plan will be launched by the Scottish Government, with a £1.2m investment in a method of high dose treatment.

The document set out 13 key goals to be met by March 2025, including “optimising” the radiotherapy workforce.

The plan said practitioners who worked primarily in one of the five cancer centres would be encouraged to “work across centres where feasible”.

Funding would also be provided to help roll out stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to all of the centres in Scotland – currently only three of the five are able to provide the treatment.

SABR provides a more precise form of high dose radiotherapy that can be used on smaller tumours while helping to limit the impact on other organs and will be used to treat oligometastatic disease – when only a few growths have spread beyond the origin point of the cancer.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Radiotherapy plays a key role in treating and curing cancer, with approximately half of all cancer patients expected to receive radiotherapy treatment.

“After surgery, radiotherapy is the next most effective form of cancer treatment and is given to 40% of all patients who are cured.

“We are committed to providing a world class radiotherapy service for cancer patients, regardless of where they live.

“This National Radiotherapy Plan sets out 13 actions with a view to not only curing more cancers but also reducing side effects by increasing access to the most modern treatments.”

Dr John McLellan, the head of radiotherapy physics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said the funding will allow his centre to expand its use of SABR treatments.

“SABR provides so many patients with treatment options that were not technically feasible just a few years ago and the team here in Aberdeen has worked hard to provide this cutting-edge technique for patients across the north east.

“We’re fortunate that consistent funding of radiotherapy equipment in Scotland has furnished our treatment centres with some of the most advanced equipment available.

“The funding being announced today will allow us to expand our SABR service in Aberdeen, meeting the challenges of ever more complex treatments and an ever increasing number of patients.”

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