COVID RT initiative
COVID RT is a national initiative that aims to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK radiotherapy services and patient outcomes.
The acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in major changes in the patient pathway including:
- A substantial reduction in new cancer referrals
- The pausing or cancelling of screening programmes
- The rapid publication of local and national guidance on changing radiotherapy schedules, with differing levels of evidence to support the recommendations
- The omission, delay and/or instances of patient refusal of radiotherapy
- A reduction in surgical capacity leading to an increase in the use of radiotherapy as first definitive treatment or as a bridge to surgery.
Further challenges are anticipated during the recovery phase of the pandemic.
The aim of COVID RT is to capture these changes and understand their impact on radiotherapy services and patient outcomes across the UK. The initiative will not only focus on patients with COVID-19, but all radiotherapy patients, and will be complementary to the ongoing work of CTRad.
COVID RT was launched on 27 April 2020 at a webinar with 100 attendees from across 35 UK centres. A further webinar has since been held on 4 May 2020 due to the substantial interest in this initiative. The webinar recording and accompanying slides are available on the CTRad website. It is supported by a number of UK professional groups including the Royal College of Radiologists, Society of Radiographers and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.