The referral to the panel must be supported by the local MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) and made by a Consultant Clinical Oncologist who has seen and assessed you/your child and who has discussed it with you.
The consultant completes a referral form and sends your/your child's medical records, including images of the tumour, to the PRCP. They will decide if PBT will be of more benefit compared to conventional radiotherapy.
This process generally takes at least two weeks, but can be longer if the panel needs to query any of the information they receive. Your consultant will inform you of their decision.
In Scotland the Clinical Oncologist refers first to the Scottish Non-Standard Radiotherapy Advisors, who decide whether to refer on to the PCRP. In Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, funding also has to be agreed by the local health boards/trusts.
If PBT is approved by the panel, your (or your child's) medical records and tumour images will then be sent by your consultant to one of the approved treatment centres either in the UK or abroad. The treatment centre will discuss and review the case and make the final decision about whether PBT treatment will be offered. They will then inform your health team.
This part of the process can take up to three weeks. Additional tests to help assess your/your child's suitability may be requested. Sometimes further surgery in the UK is also requested before PBT can be offered.
If the treating centre approves treatment, and is abroad, then your local NHS Trust will contact you to discuss travel arrangements and make sure you have the appropriate travel documents (passports, visas, insurance etc.). This part of the process, including arranging travel, can mean it is another three weeks before you arrive at the treatment centre.
Consultations, a planning scan and the actual planning of the treatment will then be done. This can take up to three weeks.
It is important to realise, therefore, that the whole referral process, from when your consultant suggests this could be appropriate treatment to receiving the first PBT, can take nearly three months (11 weeks) if you are sent abroad. It may be quicker if you are sent to a UK centre. Also, at any stage, the case can be refused on the grounds of PBT not being the best option for you/your child.