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Radiotherapy

Department of Health written question – answered on 7th November 2014.

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Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether NHS England's Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services Needs Assessment and Service Review published in November 2014 is solely for the purpose of assessing the needs of intracranial radiotherapy treatment in England.

Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to NHS England's Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services Needs Assessment and Service Review published in November 2014, what evidence NHS England has received that demonstrates that instances of both malignant and benign brain tumours are lower in England than in other devoloped countries; and for what reasons NHS England is supporting proposals which will prevent the NHS from adopting a programme to allow it to reach parity with other developed countries for the provision of stereotactic radiotherapy for brain tumours.

Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to NHS England's Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services Needs Assessment and Service Review published in November 2014, section 58, how NHS England is able accurately to protect the growth requirements for stereotactic radiosurgery if the data source it is using does not allow it to draw firm conclusions for the purposes of this Review.

Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to NHS England's Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services Needs Assessment and Service Review published in November 2014, section 96, if he will ensure that NHS England's proposals to use modified Linacs to supplement highly specialised stereotactic radiotherapy provision (a) comply with national recommendations that a minimum number of 25 patients is treated each year and (b) do not reduce patient access to the conventional radiotherapy the Linacs are designed to provide.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

NHS England’s review is concerned with assessing and meeting the need for the treatment of intracranial conditions with SRS/SRT; fractionated extracranial radiotherapy and Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) are not included in the review.

The two activity scenarios in the consultation document assume a significant growth in treatment rates. Scenario A is based on the level of need identified in the NHS England Clinical Commissioning Policies, whilst scenario B is based on an expected growth demand based on the treatment rates of some other European countries. The relative merits of these two scenarios are laid out from page eight of the consultation document www.engage.england.nhs.uk/survey/options-for-change/supporting_documents/srssrtconsultguide021114.pdf

NHS England’s reasons for recommending scenario A with a seven-day working week, ‘Option 2’, is set out in their report as follows:

SCOG [the Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group] decided on Option 2 as the preferred option as it is based on seven-day working, which aligns to the national strategic direction of moving towards seven-day service provision. Additionally, the risk of overcapacity is minimised if clinical trends change more slowly than expected because the centres providing the service could revert to fewer days per week. The avoidance of machines lying idle 2/7ths of the week will ensure best price for the NHS. Option 2 could be superseded by further expansion of national capacity should the activity levels increase beyond those described in Scenario A.”

“It was recognised that in planning for Option 2, future increases in capacity would still be possible should activity levels rise beyond those described in Scenario A, in order to mitigate any risk of future under-capacity”

The national recommendation that a minimum number patients be treated each year relates specifically to Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) which is out of the scope of this consultation.

NHS England's Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy Services Needs Assessment and Service Review is currently subject to an ongoing public consultation, which closes on 26 January 2015. NHS England would welcome any detailed comments being fed directly into the consultation process, including on data sources. Comments can be made at this link:

www.engage.england.nhs.uk/survey/options-for-change

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