News and features

Transforming radiotherapy delivery

With over 120,000 cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment every year in the UK, the ability to predict the demand for radiotherapy is an important factor in the smooth running of NHS trusts.

In collaboration with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the National Cancer Action Team, researchers at Surrey have developed multi-scale models for use within the NHS.

The MALTHUS model predicts demand for radiotherapy across England and Wales, allowing NHS commissioners to justify purchases of new radiotherapy equipment. 

Using evidence-based decision trees based on UK clinical practice and local cancer incidence data, the model has been instrumental in the management of radiotherapy services nationally and has had a significant impact upon health service delivery to cancer patients.

Initially adopted in Ipswich, the tool now has over 100 users and has been made available to research groups across the world, including in Australia and Canada.

The NHS National Cancer Action team and Royal College of Radiologists both recognise MALTHUS as a standard and national metric for the planning and maintenance of radiotherapy services throughout the UK.

Recently, the project received impact acceleration funding to develop an enhanced version of the tool – iMalthus – to improve reporting functionality and accuracy.

To read more about the uptake of the tool, visit the Society of Radiographers website or the Malthus Programme website.