NHS England announces hospitals chosen to take part in new initiative aimed at increasing access to radiotherapy

NHS England has announced the list of provider hospitals chosen to take part in a new £4.8 million initiative, aimed at increasing access to specialist radiotherapy services.

The 10 centres will provide Selective Internal Radiotherapy (SIRT) to around 220 patients a year as part of a time-limited programme called ‘Commissioning through Evaluation’.

The successful centres are:

  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust
  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

SIRT, which is a form of radiotherapy used in the treatment of cancerous tumours in the liver, is not routinely funded by the NHS as the current evidence base does not yet demonstrate sufficient clinical and cost effectiveness for its routine use.

Commissioning through Evaluation will enable SIRT to be funded within defined parameters, in a relatively small number of centres, and within an explicit evaluation programme. It is anticipated that the programme will be funded for between 1-3 years.

This approach provides an opportunity for patients, who are deemed clinically suitable, to access SIRT – a treatment which shows significant promise in terms of improving quality of life – but is not accessible through a formal research trial.

Dr Adrian Crellin, Chair of NHS England’s SIRT Commissioning through Evaluation Steering Group, said:

“This is a very exciting development for those patients who can potentially benefit from treatment with SIRT, and for those clinicians who wish to contribute to the growing evidence base supporting this treatment.

“NHS England is committed to expanding access to all forms of specialist radiotherapy, and we await the outcome of this innovative commissioning programme with some anticipation, as is it will help us determine how best to deliver these important, and life-saving, services to patients in the future”.