12 August 2020
By Tom Collins
A partnership between UCC & HSE South/South West Hospital Group (HSE S/SWHG)
The College of Medicine and Health (CoMH) UCC, has announced the proposed MSc in Radiation therapy (Graduate entry) will be a 2-year, full-time, taught master’s programme, with a student intake of 12 students in 2020/2021.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of patients diagnosed with cancer in Europe annually will reach over 4.5 million, around 50% of whom will need treatment that includes radiation therapy. Radiation Therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses ionising radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation Therapists are specialist allied health professionals who not only have the technical competencies to undertake safe delivery of treatments but also require emotional resilience and excellent communication skills to work with a group of patients with complex needs.
Professor Helen Whelton, Head of the College of Medicine and Health, UCC and Chief Academic Officer to the SSWHG commented;
‘’There is a significant shortage of Radiation Therapists both nationally and regionally within Ireland with a high level of vacancies across the health service. I am delighted to say that this exclusive programme will provide a supply of highly trained and exceptional quality Radiation Therapists to the South to assist in the resolution of the current recruitment challenges in radiation therapy within the Irish healthcare system’’.
The programme will be placed in the School of Medicine, which has all the relevant core disciplines available to contribute to the programme. It will provide students with the knowledge and expertise to place them at the forefront of their field, with the skills and the ability to provide evidence-based and innovative practices, to think creatively and strategically, be flexible and to work collaboratively. Graduates of this programme will have the skills and technical knowledge to produce individualised treatment plans and critically analyse both these plans and verification images to deliver high quality, customised radiation therapy to patients. Graduates will have specialist knowledge and clinical skills to facilitate the psychosocial care of the patients throughout their treatment preparation and delivery as a key member of the multidisciplinary team.
Professor Mark F. McEntee, Chair of Diagnostic Radiography, UCC commented;
‘’This programme offers a unique opportunity for students to attend clinical placement in some of the newest cancer care centres in Ireland including The Glandore Centre in Cork University Hospital and The Bons Secours Hospital in Cork which I believe provides an exceptional learning environment’’
The Bons Secours Radiotherapy Cork in Partnership with UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre opened in July 2019 and is equipped with some of the most advanced technologies available including stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a non-surgical radiation therapy treatment that uses concentrated radiation beams in high doses to destroy tumours in hard to reach areas of the body while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The Radiation Oncology Centre at Cork University Hospital is a new state of the art facility which delivered its first treatments in late 2019 and is currently undergoing a transfer of services from the existing unit to the new centre. It is the first public department in Ireland to use Surface Guided Radiation Therapy Treatment (SGRT) which improves speed and accuracy of treatment delivery by tracking the skin surface in real-time and comparing it to the ideal position with sub-millimetric accuracy so that radiation is only delivered when the patient is correctly positioned, which enhances safety.