There were just over 2,400 of the targeted radiotherapy treatments carried out in 2014/15. As part NHS England’s Cancer Strategy, it aims to offer the treatment to more than 6,200 patients a year by 2018/19.
The specialist forms of what are termed stereotactic surgeries include Gamma Knife and Cyberknife but are currently not widely available to brain tumour patients.
It involves the use of a robotic arm to deliver targeted high dose beams of radiotherapy from various angles during surgery thereby greatly minimising the damage done to surrounding healthy tissue.
“As a result of this procurement thousands more patients will benefit from this very precise and effective form of treatment,” said Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England’s Director of Specialised Services.
“This is another example of how NHS England is working hard to achieve better services and outcomes for patients at the same time as better value for the health service.”
The services are arranged to ensure that patients in all areas of the country have access while three national centres of excellence will provide specialist care and support for children and patients.
As part of the Cancer Strategy, further improvements to radiotherapy access and quality will be the subject of a separate Radiotherapy Services Review. The Review will produce a plan for a modern national radiotherapy network by September, with a revised radiotherapy service specification by the end of 2016.
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