To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of radiotherapy in rural areas as a result of NHS England's plan to modernise radiotherapy services.
17 January 2018
NHS England is currently engaged in a public consultation to establish 11 radiotherapy networks across England. The aim of their proposals is to encourage radiotherapy providers to work together in networks and across organisational boundaries to concentrate expertise and improve pathways for patients requiring radical radiotherapy for the less common and rarer cancers. This will help to increase access to more innovative radiotherapy treatments, increase clinical trial recruitment and optimise utilisation of radiotherapy equipment, securing greater value for money. Once established, radiotherapy networks will be required to review service provision on a regular basis, explore the differential access rates across the geography and take account of specific issues relating to rural communities. They will also be required to consider how to address any shortcomings, including; outreach out-patient oncology clinics, preferential access to clinic appointments and treatments to allow for limited public transport, reviewing opportunities for better hospital transport and the use of telephone consultations when appropriate.
The consultation period has been extended until 24 January 2018 and views can be fed into the online survey: