Radiotherapy has been in the forefront of technical advances for the treatment of cancers during recent years and radiotherapy staff are closely involved in the holistic management of patients. Radiotherapists are also increasingly involved in undertaking pre-treatment scans using complex modalities such as CT, MRI and PET.
Research work in relation to Agenda for Change 2009 and the Scope of Radiographic Practice 2008 explored the practice of radiotherapists in the NHS and identified need areas for postgraduate training and development. Radiotherapists are taking on expanded roles in areas such as counselling, patient information and follow-up, dosimetry and clinic management.
Collaborative research is of key importance to the NHS. Radiotherapy staff have joined in a multi-disciplinary study which examined the nutritional advice given by allied health professionals to patients.
The funded study 'An Evaluation of the Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme' in radiology was driven by the desire of the professional colleges to enhance service quality and the experience of patients as service users.
The evaluation considered means by which imaging departments could best achieve accredited standards and provide better quality care.
Appropriate nutrition is a vital part of well-being and recovery during cancer treatments. A current funded study is exploring patient perceptions in radiotherapy and will fill a much needed gap in qualitative research.
This 'patient-centred' research approach is in keeping with national imperatives for placing consumer voice at the heart of health service policy.