Universities to provide more radiation therapy educational places in response to a lack of staff

Universities to increase radiation therapy training places
Credit: aecc.ac.uk | Universities to increase radiation therapy training places

Following information that there was a crisis in the field at a meeting with the minister of higher education this week, two institutions have decided to enhance the number of spots available for radiation therapy training.

Presently, 130 patients are denied radiation therapy per day; one of the main causes of this delay is a lack of trained personnel.

Simon Harris and officials from UCC, University Hospital Galway, and Trinity College Dublin met recently to talk about the problems related to radiation therapy.

He was informed that, crucial to national cancer policies, there was a problem in the recruitment and retention of radiation therapy professionals.

Cork North Central TD Colm Burke arranged the meeting, he told the Irish Examiner, following extensive contact with the minister over the previous year.

He claimed that two institutions decided to enhance their training spots starting the next year after the discussion.

“At the moment, there are just two colleges offering radiation therapy courses,” he stated. “There is no primary course offered by Trinity, which has 30 spots, or UCC, which has 12 post-graduate spots. It already requires you to be a postgraduate student.

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Following the discussion, the minister said that he would be meeting with the Department of Health to see how they might collaborate to develop a plan that would enable each institution to provide more training spots.

“Trinity stated that they can expand placements from 30 to 50 if they receive more resources to meet staffing requirements, while UCC can increase from 12 to 24 contingent on financing being made available. In order to be able to deploy trainees, hospitals must also join the initiative.

Following the meeting, Mr. Burke claimed to have had another meeting with the minister, who affirmed that he had been in communication with the Department of Health on the matter.

According to a poll done in February, 88% of radiation therapists were not happy with their pay scale.

Through the use of the online survey platform SurveyMonkey, the study was a component of the nationwide assessment of radiation therapy services.

It was discovered that a doctor now makes an average gross income of €134,131 year, while radiation therapists make an average of €40,037 annually.

The office of the minister of higher education released the following statement: “On 25 October, Deputy Burke, representatives from Trinity, UCC, and the radiation therapy profession met.

In September 2023, more college spots were made available for Trinity College’s undergraduate radiation therapy department.

Minister Harris prioritises the supply of graduates in these critical skill areas. Regarding the need for workforce planning in the healthcare industry, there is frequent communication with the minister and the Department of Health.

“To move the matter forward, the minister agreed to meet with the group again in January.”