A single centre service evaluation of patients’ experiences participating in Radiotherapy Clinical Trials during and post COVID-19 in Northern Ireland, UK

Stacey Conway, Terri Flood

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Abstract

Introduction:
Radiotherapy (RT) clinical trials allow patients to access cutting-edge innovative cancer treatments. Clinical Research Therapy Radiographers (CRRs) play an important role in the management and care of RT trial patients. The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruption to RT trial delivery. Measures to mitigate COVID-19 risk continue to have an effect on patient contact and communication within cancer centres in the United Kingdom (UK). This study aimed to explore patient perspectives regarding their recent RT trial experience in Northern Ireland (NI), UK.
Methods:
A single centre service evaluation was conducted in NI. Patients who were recruited into a RT clinical trial from January 2020 to January 2023 were invited to participate. Surveys were posted to 50 participants in April 2023. Quantitative and qualitative data was captured and analysed using descriptive statistics and Braun and Clarke’s six-step thematic analysis framework respectively. Ethical approval was obtained through Ulster University and the NHS Trust.
Results: Forty-three of the 50 invited participants responded (86%). Forty-two respondents (79%) had a prostate cancer diagnosis. Forty-one (98%) participants indicated that CRRs were always approachable, polite and courteous and would recommend taking part in a RT trial to friends and family. Identified areas for improvement included aspects regarding consent and participant decision-making.
Conclusion:
This study suggests that despite the implemented measures to suspend research and mitigate COVID-19 risk, patients remained highly satisfied with the quality of care that they received through their participation in RT trials.
Implications for practice: The results of this service evaluation will facilitate maintenance and improvement of patient focused delivery of cancer trials within the host centre. This study builds on evidence highlighting the importance of the CRR role and role development for radiographers.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalRadiography
Early online date2 Jul 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • radiotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Patient perspectives
  • COVID-19
  • Service Evaluation
  • Prostate cancer
  • Role development
  • Patient perspective
  • Radiotherapy

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