Profile of radiotherapy departments contributing to the Cooperative Group of Radiotherapy of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer
Bernier, J × Horiot, J C Bartelink, H Johansson, K A Cionini, L Gonzalèz Gonzalèz, D Hamers, H Van den Bogaert, Walter #
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics vol:34 issue:4 pages:953-60
PURPOSE: Since 1982, the Radiotherapy Group of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) is carrying out a Quality Assurance program that includes the evaluation of the structure and human resources of 50 centers actively participating in protocols of clinical research in radiotherapy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: One or two site visits were made by a team of radiation physicists and physicians. A detailed questionnaire was circulated to these radiotherapy centers to collect and update standardized figures on the status and activities of each center, to clarify some obscurities encountered during on-site visits, and to extend investigations to issues that were not addressed during local audits. RESULTS: This article reports on departmental infrastructure, staff and equipment workload, and quality control procedures carried out by single institutions. Large variations in equipment and staff are observed among participating centers. Comparisons between data collected in the early 1980s and during a recent update show no difference in workload per megavoltage equipment and per simulator. The number of cancer patients treated per year per radiotherapist seems to slightly diminish, especially in centers that experienced a considerable staff shortage a few years ago. The most significant improvement is observed for the number of cases treated per year per member of the radiation physics team. The radiographer's workload shows an opposite trend. CONCLUSIONS: Our database provides participating centers with strong comparative arguments to correct staff and equipment unbalances and to convince administrative authorities of priorities in decision making. The current analysis shows that the situation for equipment is unchanged in comparison with that observed 6 years ago. Efforts have to be put forth in some institutions to reduce the workload at simulators. A tentative profile and guidelines for minimum recommendations for European radiotherapy departments involved in clinical research are presented.