Cancer can affect anyone at any age and touches not only the person receiving the diagnosis, but also their friends and family. Swift and safe treatment is a vital step in a patient's care.
Radiotherapy plays a key role in our national cancer services, with approximately half of all cancer patients expected to receive radiotherapy treatment. After surgery, radiotherapy is the next most effective modality of cancer treatment and is given to 40% of all patients who are cured.
The Scottish Government is committed to providing a world class radiotherapy service, that is of high quality, safe and effective for people in Scotland, regardless of where they live. That is why in our National Cancer Plan: Recovery and Redesign: An Action Plan for Cancer Services, published on 09 December 2020, we have set out a range of commitments to improve Scotland's radiotherapy services even further. One of which was to develop a national plan for Scotland's radiotherapy service. We have set out with a view to not only curing more cancers but also reducing the late effects associated with treatment by increasing access to the most modern treatments.
This plan sets out our ambition to provide equitable, timely access across NHS Scotland to safe, efficient and effective, person-centred radiotherapy services. In addition, the plan will seek to drive progress and embed access to clinical research trials.
As the pandemic impacts NHS Scotland and it continues in a phase of service recovery and renewal, this plan has been developed with 13 key targeted actions to improve Scotland's radiotherapy services. This plan will set out the timeframe for these actions, working to March 2025, and set out the key milestones and completion date within this period. The actions set out will drive improvement and development of our services, and ensure that progress is reviewed and maintained beyond March 2025.
The plan is underpinned by the on-going investment as set out in our National Cancer Plan, including £45 million in our long established LINAC Procurement Programme to ensure the most up to date radiotherapy equipment is available across Scotland's cancer centres. The technical specification & evaluation sub-group will continue to oversee this investment and work in partnership with our Radiotherapy Programme Board. In addition, up to £1.5 million has been awarded to increase the availability of SABR for Oligometastatic Disease across all centres and additional funding on a range of radiotherapy services, including £200,000 to ensure radiologist input within regional multidisciplinary cancer team, and £81,000 to enable increased access to home working.
Developed in collaboration with the National Radiotherapy Programme Board, we have worked with key stakeholders across Scotland's five cancer centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen to ensure targeted intervention where it is needed most. I would like to thank those involved in its development and in its delivery over the next 3 years.
Humza Yousaf MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care