Remote radiotherapy treatment planning: the Beacon Centre experience

Author(s): Dr Petra Jankowska, Stephen McCormack, Stuart McGrail

Hospital: Beacon Centre, Musgrove Park Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 45, 531, 11-12


“Necessity is the mother of invention”

Nowhere is this more true than in the case of rurally-based radiotherapy departments, where the challenges of operating a seamless, high quality and effective service for patients can be thwarted in a heartbeat with the joyous announcement of maternity leave. Even when fully-staffed, such departments must grapple with the ebb and flow of demand and leave cover, usually without the luxury of trainee clinical scientists and specialist registrars. However, it is these very challenges that often stimulate inventive solutions to problems, frequently capitalising on IT innovations.

At the Beacon Centre in Somerset, we have long exploited IT solutions in radiotherapy, from remote radiotherapy contouring peer review for lone clinicians, remote radiotherapy contouring by clinicians at other centres using our treatment planning systems (TPS) and remote radiotherapy treatment planning and plan review/approval. All of these – contouring, contouring peer review, treatment planning and plan approval – are essential steps in the pathway of radical radiotherapy treatment planning, as indicated in The Royal College of Radiologists guidance (August 2017).

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