2:26 pm, Tuesday, 16th February 2021

Letter from Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning and Health and Justice- Children’s Radiotherapy Engagement Events

Dear All,

Please see the message below that we are today circulating to all our registered
stakeholders as we begin early engagement on our review of children’s radiotherapy
services. As key partners and providers, we are particularly keen to ensure you are aware
of the review and have an opportunity to join the webinars taking place next month, so
please do share this with your team and other colleagues who will have an interest.
Adapting to the future of children’s radiotherapy – help us to design services fit for
the future.

In the past few years we have seen huge advancements in children’s cancer treatment, and
more children are surviving than ever before. In addition to conventional radiotherapy,
proton beam therapy (PBT) is established as a safe and effective treatment for many
children’s cancers, particularly as it offers an advantage in minimising tissue damage for
tumours in sensitive areas of the body. The Christie Hospital in Manchester is the first NHS
centre to offer high-energy PBT, and capacity will expand as PBT facilities open at
University College London Hospital (UCLH) later this year. It’s really positive that more
children will be treated with PBT, but conventional radiotherapy remains the best and most
appropriate treatment option for some children, and we need to ensure continued access to
high quality care to those who need it.

In order to keep abreast of improvements in treatment options our children’s cancer
services must be fit for the future. Services will need to adapt as the way we can treat
children’s cancers improves, as we have professionals trained in new technologies, and the
right facilities and equipment, as part of a co-ordinated approach to care.

Our focus on children’s radiotherapy services in England will do this by drawing on the
knowledge of expert doctors and medical staff and the insights of patients and their
families. Early conversations are underway to understand the opportunities and challenges,
and the potential solutions to making sure all children can access the care they need. We
will continue to work with medical leaders and professional groups, and with the Teenage
Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent, to understand the issues from all perspectives before we
move forward with proposals for a future model of radiotherapy services for children.
We are holding a number of online sessions for both clinicians and professionals, and for
charities, young people and their families, throughout March 2021 where we will be talking
through the current situation and why a review is necessary – so please book a place to join
the conversation.

Webinars with charities, young people and families
Thursday 11 March, 1.30-2.30pm
Friday 19 March, 11-12am
Thursday 25 March, 3-4pm

Webinars with professionals and clinicians
Friday 12 March, 11-12am
Thursday 18 March, 4-5pm
Friday 26 March, 1.0-2.30pm

To hear more about the review and how you can share your views as work progresses,
please register as a stakeholder for the Radiotherapy CRG (clinical reference group).
If you have any other queries, please contact our Engagement Team at

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Groom

Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning and Health and Justice
North East and Yorkshire