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'Postcode lottery' for patients for molecular radiotherapy services in the UK

PATIENTS face a ‘postcode lottery’ on the provision of a particular form of molecular radiotherapy they might benefit from, a review of the service has said.

The ‘Review of molecular radiotherapy services in the UK’ was undertaken by IPEM, the British Nuclear Medicine Society, the Royal College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Radiologists.

The review, which was published recently, looks at the unequal provision of the service across the four devolved nations and makes a number of proposals on how to address this.

The main findings of the review are:

  • The provision of molecular radiotherapy services across the UK is not uniform
  • There is no clear ownership of the service
  • Patients face a ‘postcode lottery’ on the provision of a particular form of molecular radiotherapy they may benefit from
  • The requirement to delivery molecular radiotherapy is likely to increase dramatically over the next decade

A number of recommendations have been made by the review, including the requirement for a UK-wide strategy, patients need to be at the heart of the delivery of the services, and each devolved nation should appoint a molecular radiotherapy champion.

In her foreword to the review, Dr Jeanette Dickson, President of the RCR, said: ‘Molecular radiotherapy services have for many years been an important, but much neglected, pillar of cancer care.

‘However, if the UK population is to fully benefit from molecular radiotherapy advances in terms of hard won improvements in both symptoms and survival, patients need to be able to access the agents easily, regardless of where they live.

‘This requires the healthcare systems within the four nations to effectively commission the new agents, as well as rapidly invest in the workforce and physical environments to ensure their safe delivery.’

Read the Review