Varian supports new UK radiography training centre

15 September 2006

London, UK. A key new radiography training centre, The Saad Centre for Radiography Clinical Skills Education, opened in London on 12 September. The new facility, the first in the south of England, has been made possible thanks to investment by London’s City University, the Saad Group from Saudi Arabia and Varian Medical Systems.

The new state-of-the-art complex will raise standards of training in radiography and ensure graduates receive the most advanced practical experience in the UK.

Varian has donated ten Eclipse treatment planning systems (TPS). The Eclipse enables oncologists to plan advanced treatments using the latest radiotherapy techniques such as image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Michael Sandhu, Varian’s European director of public/private partnerships, says, “This new centre will be a major resource in training radiotherapy radiographers of the future and we are proud to support such a vital and worthwhile project. More trained radiographers mean more staff to run the additional treatment machines acquired in the UK in recent years, and this will greatly benefit the country’s cancer patients in the future.”

Varian also supports England’s only other radiography skills lab, based at Sheffield Hallam University and covering the north of the country. “Facilities such as those at Sheffield and now in London are vital in enabling new advances in radiotherapy to be put into practice,” adds Sandhu. “A shortage of qualified radiographers has sometimes prevented such techniques from being implemented as swiftly as necessary in the past, as existing clinical staff battle to control waiting lists. We want that to change, as every patient deserves the opportunity to be treated with the most effective technology that gives them the best chance of a cure.”

Jennifer Edie, Head of Radiography at The City University, London says: “The range and sophistication of these facilities mean that our radiography courses are more practical than ever, fully equipping all graduates for the world of work and taking the strain off busy hospital staff.”

The centre’s development began after a group of the University’s radiographers debated the future needs of the University’s training for the profession. The conclusion was a two-phase project: the first phase saw the construction of the radiography clinical skills centre and the inclusion of new clinical equipment and facilities. The second phase is focused on increasing the centre’s research to place it at the forefront of the radiography profession.

The Saad Centre plans to dramatically increase its radiography research and offer more training and development opportunities to students and practicing radiographers across the UK and worldwide. The centre also benefits from having close links with the department of radiography’s radiation laboratory, which is dedicated to researching the interactions between radiation and different body tissues.

The new facility comes on the back of significant recent government investment in radiotherapy equipment. Over the last three years, the UK government’s Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) has announced major radiotherapy investments in a series of waves. More than 100 new linear accelerators have been acquired as part of the Cancer Plan and Varian has been selected to provide two-thirds of all machines ordered.

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