Radiotherapy delivery in England by episodes and attendances

This tool presents the number of radiotherapy episodes and attendances delivered in England.

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Data for this tool is based on patient-level information collected by the NHS, as part of the care and support of cancer patients. The data is collated, maintained and quality assured by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, which is part of Public Health England (PHE).

The Radiotherapy Data Set (RTDS) is an existing standard requiring all NHS Acute Trust providers of radiotherapy services in England to collect and submit standardised data monthly against a nationally defined dataset. The purpose of the standard is to collect consistent and comparable data across all NHS Acute Trust providers of radiotherapy services in England in order to provide intelligence for service planning, commissioning, clinical practice and research and the operational provision of radiotherapy services across England since April 2009. The management and delivery of the RTDS was the responsibility of the National Clinical Analysis and Specialised Applications Team (NATCANSAT) until 31st March 2016. Public Health England took full responsibility for the RTDS on 1st April 2016.

The data presented in this tool represents radiotherapy activity across England from 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2019. It includes therapies delivered externally from outside the body (teletherapy) and internally from within the body (brachytherapy) for the treatment of cancer and certain non-cancerous conditions. Radiotherapy activity is measured in episodes and attendances. An episode is a continuous period of care for radiotherapy including all preparation, planning and delivery of radiotherapy. Attendances refer to the number of times a patient attends a radiotherapy department and receives treatment in an episode of care. The completeness of radiotherapy activity data varies by trust. Not all providers commenced delivery of radiotherapy in April 2009. Figures reported in the tool may differ from previously reported activity.

Cancer Alliances

The tool presents radiotherapy activity data across Cancer Alliances in England. The Cancer Alliance names refer to the geographical footprint they cover, accurate as of January 2020. The number of radiotherapy trusts associated to each Cancer Alliance varies across England. Cancer Alliance names may differ from those used in other publications.

Intent of Treatment

Treatment intent refers to the intent of the delivered beam of radiation. The data for this field is categorised into three groups: 'Palliative' (symptom control and pain relief), 'Radical' (aiming to cure), and 'Other and Unknown'. Treatment intent became a mandatory data item for submission in April 2014.

Age Group

Age is calculated using the patient's date of birth and the radiotherapy treatment start date. It is grouped into the following: 0-49 years, 50-59 years, 60-69 years, 70-79 years and 80+ years. Where information for date of birth was incomplete or missing in the RTDS, records were matched to cancer registry data where possible.

Financial Year

Financial year is the period used for reporting radiotherapy activity, running from 1st April to 31st March. The years included in the tool range from 2009-2010 to 2018-2019.

Disease Group

The primary tumour diagnosis code (or the main condition being treated) is classified using the 10th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), a medical classification list produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO). ICD 10 codes have been grouped into cancer and non-cancer groups. ICD-09 radiotherapy diagnosis codes have been mapped to ICD-10 to aid consistency and interpretation.


Where the sex of the patient was unknown or missing in the RTDS, records of radiotherapy activity were linked to cancer registry data where available.