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Radiation Oncology Nurse

To make radiotherapy available to all patients who need it, human resources should be urgently expanded globally, along with the rational acquisition of additional equipment. The recommended staffing - for a basic radiotherapy facility with 1 teletherapy machine, simulator and high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) - should be: 5 radiation oncologists, 4 medical physicists, 7-8 radiotherapy technologists (RTTs), 3 oncology nurses and 1 maintenance engineer.

Where possible, training should be undertaken in centres with patient populations, equipment and training programmes relevant to the needs of the country. Radiotherapy staff should also be required to obtain a qualification adequate for registration in their own country.

The human resources listed above could treat on average about 1000 patients per year by extending operations to a minimum of 12 hours per day. The equipment and staffing indicated would be sufficient to start operations, but certainly would not be sustainable without adding a training component. Hence, to qualify as a centre of "competence" a clinic should provide training to replace its own radiotherapy technologists and radiation oncology nurses. In addition, it should be able to provide financial resources to enable academic training for replacement of radiation oncologists and medical physicists as well as on-site clinical training for these professionals.