Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology vol:75 issue:3 pages:349-54
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to collect the available guidelines for infrastructure and staffing throughout Europe and to develop general guidelines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Questionnaires were sent to representatives in all European countries. Countries were divided into three groups, based on the GDP per capita (low, medium and high resource countries). Based on the results, general guidelines were developed. RESULTS: 41 countries (93.2%), representing over 99% of the European population responded. Guidelines for the number of linear accelerators and personnel were available in about 40% of the countries. For accelerators, the average was 1 per 183,000 inhabitants in the high, 1 per 284,000 in the medium and 1 per 500,000 in the low resource countries. For radiation oncologists, it varied between 1 per 150-400 patients (average: 250) and there was no clear difference between high, medium and low resource countries. For physicists, the average was 1 per 530 patients for high and 1 per 610 for medium or low resource countries. Guidelines for other equipment and staffing are highly dependent on local habits and complexity of the treatments. CONCLUSION: An accurate overview of existing guidelines for radiotherapy infrastructure and staffing is obtained. It is suggested to have one linear accelerator per 450 patients, one radiation oncologist per 200-250 patients and one physicist per 450-500 patients (or one per linac). It should be stressed, however, that these are only crude guidelines and that the actual needs heavily depend on population structure, cancer incidence and treatment strategies, which differ between the various countries.