Published: 05 May 2016

Transforming radiotherapy delivery

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

The MALTHUS (Monte Carlo Application for Local Treatment and Healthcare Usage Simulation) model predicts demand for radiotherapy across England and Wales, allowing NHS commissioners to justify purchases of new radiotherapy equipment. 

Using clinical decision trees obtained from the published evidence base and by questioning groups of leading clinicians, the program launches a population of virtual patients with representative age and sex distributions, socio-economic characteristics and cancer disease incidence, and predicts the demand for radiotherapy equipment.

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 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, and ultimately lead to greater benefits for the healthcare sector. 

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

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