The Cost of Radiotherapy: A Radiotherapy Board report unveils news figures

13 May 2024

The BIR is proud to have been part of a complex project to help estimate the cost of radiotherapy in the UK. Based on the model used by the ESTRO-HERO project the working party produced a report calledNational costs and resource requirements of radiotherapy: costing estimate for England from the ESTRO-HERO project.

In 2011 ESTRO (European Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology) launched the HERO-project (Health Economics in Radiation Oncology) to develop knowledge-based models for the health economic evaluation of radiotherapy in Europe. This project has four phases: needs assessment, accessibility, cost, and finally cost-effectiveness of radiotherapy. In 2018 The RCR, CoR, IPEM and BIR (with extensive support from ESTRO) formed a working party to implement the time-driven activity-based HERO-costing model for England in 2017.  This date was chosen as there was complete radiotherapy activity data for England available from the RTDS at the time. The National Radiotherapy Board has now published the final report from this group.

The model estimates the total cost of radiotherapy in 2017 was £467m (about 7% for the total cancer budget at that time). This delivered 127,275 courses of radiotherapy. The mean cost of a course of radiotherapy was £3,672, with 62% of the cost due to the equipment used in this treatment.

Dr Keith Langmack, the BIR representative on the project, said:

 “I am appreciative to the BIR for asking me to take part in this work. All of the working party worked incredibly hard on this project. The lead authors (Dr N Defourny, Dr K Spencer and Dr T Roques) have done a marvellous job of pulling this report together. A multi-professional approach, a unique attribute of the BIR, was vital to ensuring success of this project. It provides important evidence to aid in the determination of the reimbursement levels for UK radiotherapy.  NHSE should use this as a resource for setting radiotherapy tariffs”.


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