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Radiotherapy Linear Accelerator Machines

Volume 738: debated on Tuesday 17 October 2023

10. How many and what proportion of NHS radiotherapy linear accelerator (LINAC) machines will reach the end of their recommended lifespan in 2024. (906553)

The Government and NHS England are committed to ensuring cancer patients can receive high quality radiotherapy treatment. Between 2016 and 2021, £162 million was invested which enabled the replacement or upgrade of around 100 radiotherapy machines. Responsibility for investment in radiotherapy machines has sat with local systems since April 2022. I look forward to meeting the hon. Gentleman and the all-party group for radiotherapy on this matter soon.

I am very grateful to the Minister for his reply and in particular for the offer of the meeting coming soon. Radiotherapy UK says that for us to even meet average international standards we must commission 125 additional new linear accelerators. Will he make the commitment to do that and, in doing so, ensure that rural and remote communities do not lose out by placing some of those machines in new satellite centres, such as the Westmorland General Hospital?

The hon. Gentleman is hugely passionate on this subject. As I said, integrated care boards are responsible for meeting the health needs of their individual populations, and that includes capital allocation. The 2021 spending review set aside £12 billion in capital funding, and since 2016 over £160 million has been invested in radiotherapy equipment, but of course I want to see more investment in this important technology and the necessary upgrades across England. I very much look forward to our meeting, where we can discuss that further.