Rutherford Health post expansion of proton therapy training

Fri, March 26th, 2021

Rutherford announce proton training programme for oncologists has been expanded

Rutherford Health, the UK and Europe’s leading provider of proton beam therapy services, has announced that its proton training programme for oncologists has been expanded to meet rising demand.

The course was designed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and IBA Worldwide, the largest manufacturer of proton therapy machines, and gives oncologists certification to administer high energy proton beam therapy in cancer patients.

Rutherford Health created the training programme 3 years ago and over 35 oncologists have become certified in proton beam therapy. A further 20 oncologists have been enrolled onto the programme over the next two months alone. Rutherford’s centres offer proton beam therapy to insured, self-pay and NHS patients where they have been Commissioned to offer a service and demand has been soaring.

The two-part programme involves an e-learning module called Oncolink delivered by IBA Worldwide followed by a course with the University of Pennsylvania which is currently done virtually due to the pandemic. The course takes 2 weeks to complete depending on the flexibility of trainee oncologists.

Professor Karol Sikora, Medical Director of Rutherford Cancer Centres, said: “The growth of our proton therapy programme is another hugely encouraging sign that advanced cancer care continues to move forward with wider adoption of treatments which can improve health outcomes.

“The training programme has attracted oncologists working in the NHS who will be able to widen access and provision to advanced treatments such as proton beam therapy for their patients and improve the overall quality of cancer care.

“Until proton therapy became available in the UK, the number of oncologists trained in the delivery of this treatment was understandably limited. The growth in training reflects the increasing awareness of proton beam therapy as a treatment option. Certainly in the insured and self-pay market we have seen increasing demand for proton beam therapy as patients seek advanced treatments which can reduce side effects and maintain a good quality of life.

“The rise in demand for the programme in recent months is due to a number of factors including the urgency of the cancer backlog and the widespread adoption of proton beam therapy in the UK. Personnel training is crucial in order to keep up with the latest advances in cancer treatments and programmes such as ours will ensure the UK has the necessary talent and skill to incorporate the most advanced treatment for cancer for years to come.”

Rutherford Health operates a network of three proton beam therapy centres, with a fourth centre due to start offering proton beam therapy next year. It is the largest integrated network of proton therapy facilities in the world. The centre in Wales was the first to bring the treatment to the UK in 2018.

In addition to the Rutherford, the NHS also operates a proton facility at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester with a second NHS facility still under construction at UCLH in Central London.

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