At Velindre NHS Trust, the clinic has been a teaching clinic giving SpR’s the opportunity to attend clinic and work on the Radiotherapy Planning skills under the supervision of a Consultant Clinical Oncologist. A pre pilot questionnaire was sent to Clinical Oncology Trainees in South East, South West and North Wales to identify training need, and appetite for an RT planning clinic. In total 16 trainees ranging from ST3’s to ST7’s completed the questionnaire, 9 from Velindre Cancer Centre. 5 from South West Wales Cancer Centre and 2 from North Wales.
The questionnaire asked a range of questions around the trainees confidence in consenting, planning and prescribing palliative radiotherapy, if they thought the palliative radiotherapy clinic would be useful for their clinical training, if it would be useful for their FRCR examination preparation.
In November 2020 and March 2021, the questionnaire was resent to all trainees that had attended clinic from July 2020 to March 2021 inclusive. A total of 14 questionnaires were received all from staff based within Velindre Cancer Centre.
The respondents on average attended clinic twice between July 2020 and March 2021, and on average either 1-2 or 3-4 patients were assessed, consented and prescribed in total. On the whole, trainees felt they were either well or very well supported / supervised in clinic (91%) and thought it would be of benefit to their clinical training and FRCR preparation. Whilst most felt it met their curriculum needs (77%), there were a number of respondents who felt that the clinic only met part of their curriculum needs (23%).
90% of respondents said they would take up the opportunity to attend the clinic again and found that the planning of the Radiotherapy and receiving feedback on their planning skills and technique to be of the most benefit to their clinical training.
Trainees were asked how they thought the clinic could be improved to enhance the palliative radiotherapy service and suggestions were made around the timing of the clinic so that patients could possibly be planned and treated on the same day. They also raised the need to have palliative care input and support during the clinic.
From a training perspective they suggested that trainees must be given the opportunity to attend the clinic more than once and ensure that they follow the patients from the start to the end of the pathway.
The table below summarises some of the findings on the impact that the clinic has had on improving trainee confidence in palliative radiotherapy treatment: