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Access and travel burden associated with breast radiotherapy attendance pre- and post-COVID-19 pandemic
Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice, Volume: 22
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Introduction: It is already well-understood that patients requiring multiple hospital visits deal with several barriers. This paper considers a new methodology for determining the barrier that travel can cause, applying it to the mixed rural-city population of South-West Wales, calculating the trave...
|Published in:||Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice|
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
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Introduction: It is already well-understood that patients requiring multiple hospital visits deal with several barriers. This paper considers a new methodology for determining the barrier that travel can cause, applying it to the mixed rural-city population of South-West Wales, calculating the travel burden for patients accessing radiotherapy. Travel burden could factor into conversations around optimisation of appointments and the impact of changes to treatment pathways. Methods: Patient-specific travel data were calculated using Google Maps, for 1516 patients attending South-West Wales Cancer Centre for radiotherapy, modelled for 5-fraction and 15-fraction regimes. Results: 28% of patients travelled for longer than 60 minutes. Moving to a 5-fraction treatment regime saves 20 one-way trips to the hospital, resulting in an average time saving of 15.9 hours for those travelling by car and 39.3 hours for those travelling by public transport. On average, this reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 91 kg per patient. Conclusions: Implementation of a 5-fraction treatment regime has significantly reduced the travel burden for some patients receiving radiotherapy, as well as emissions related to travel. However, access to radiotherapy services in South-West Wales varies, with certain regions facing substantial travel burdens. Further research exploring other potential options to reduce travel burden is needed.
Access, COVID-19, emissions, FAST-Forward, radiotherapy, rural, travel burden
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences