Government agrees biggest ever deal for state-of-the-art radiotherapy machines

In collaboration with the Press Association

The Government is to buy 20 cutting-edge radiotherapy machines in a new £30 million deal, the Department of Health has announced.

The machines will deliver both standard radiotherapy and the more advanced intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

IMRT allows doctors to target tumours more accurately, so patients have fewer side-effects.

The new deal follows last year's £23 million investment by the Government into a Radiotherapy Innovation Fund to improve access to IMRT across the NHS.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said the deal would help ensure that cancer patients had access to advanced treatment and would take the UK "a step closer to a world-class radiotherapy service".

"We're extremely pleased that the Government is providing much needed money for state-of-the-art radiotherapy machines. Radiotherapy is a highly effective way of treating cancer, but we know the facilities we have in some hospitals need to be upgraded to make sure patients can get the treatment they need," he said.

Professor Johnson also said that it was important to build on the success of the recent Radiotherapy Innovation Fund with continued support and investment over the coming years.

The £30 million deal is the biggest ever struck for NHS equipment in the Department of Health's history and will save the health service £3 million compared to hospitals purchasing the machines on an individual basis, ministers said.

The investment is in keeping with the Government's new NHS procurement strategy, published earlier this month, which sets out a plan to harness the sheer size and purchasing power of the NHS to strike better deals.

Health minister Lord Howe said the move would free up money for hospitals to spend on front-line patient care.

Copyright Press Association 2013