Managing waiting time for radiotherapy: A single machine unit experience

J. Martin, P. Bowden, R. Stephens, J. Andrews, M. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Waiting time (WT) for radiotherapy (RT) is a significant clinical problem. This paper examines various strategies for managing WT for patients treated with radical and palliative intent in the new setting of a rural single machine unit in Australia. Cohorts of patients undergoing both radical and palliative RT in Bendigo had their WT prospectively recorded. Matched cohorts from the hub centre (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne) treated with palliative intent were also collated. Strategies implemented included a devoted priority meeting, palliative points system, and reallocation of appointment times. The audit was to continue until best practice guidelines were bettered. Three cohorts of patients were compared. There is a significant trend for increasing numbers of patients treated per month since the centre opened (P textless 0.0001). The ratio of palliative to radical intent patients remained stable between 46 and 52%. Mean WT for palliative RT reduced from 25 days in the first cohort to 7 days in the final cohort (P textless 0.0005). Waiting time for palliative RT was initially longer at Bendigo than the hub centre (P textless 0.0005), but by the final cohort there was a non-significant difference favouring the Bendigo cohort (P = 0.26). Waiting time for radical treatment also improved throughout the three cohorts in Bendigo (P textless 0.0005). A number of new strategies have successfully resulted in the abolition of lengthy WT for RT in Bendigo despite the increasing demand for the RT service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalAustralasian Radiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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