Consultation on a specification proposal for Proton Beam Therapy service (all ages)

Closed 17 Sep 2017

Opened 14 Jul 2017


Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) is an advanced form of radiotherapy which due to the nature of protons means almost no radiation is deposited in normal tissue beyond the tumour being targeted.

The NHS has been sending patients overseas for PBT since 2008 as there are currently no PBT centres in the UK. In 2012 the Government announced it would provide public capital to fund two PBT centres in the UK and two PBT centres are under construction, at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospitals (UCLH). The service at The Christie will take its first referral in summer 2018 and the first patient will be treated in August 2018.

This is a completely new and innovative service to the NHS. Due to the clinical and technical complexity of the treatment, each NHS centre will take around 18 months to reach full technical and clinical capacity. During this time some NHS patients will still need to be treated overseas.

The NHS PBT service will develop over a number of phases:

  • Phase 1 – current position – patients treated overseas
  • Phase 2 – summer 2018 – late summer 2020 – patients treated at The Christie and overseas (with the overseas programme reducing)
  • Phase 3 – late summer 2020 – mid 2022 – patients treated at The Christie, UCLH and overseas (with the overseas programme reducing)
  • Phase 4 – mid 2022 – NHS PBT service at full clinical and technical capacity.

As part of this long term programme of work, NHS England has produced a service specification for the new NHS service. This document details how the NHS service will run. This document has been developed by a working group of clinical and technical experts and has been considered for 2 weeks by stakeholders from the Radiotherapy and Children’s & Young People Cancer Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) and selected stakeholders from the National PBT Programme. Their comments and the amendments made to the service specification are detailed in the attached Engagement Report.

We are asking for your comments on the service specification and the supporting impact assessment. All comments will be considered by the working group and appropriate amendments will be made to the specification.

The specification does not detail which patients will be treated with PBT. There are currently four specific clinical commissioning policies for PBT:

  • Proton Beam Radiotherapy Paediatric Cancer Treatment
  • Proton Beam Radiotherapy for Teenagers and Young Adult Cancer Treatment
  • Proton Beam Radiotherapy for Adult Cancer Treatment
  • Proton Beam Therapy for cancer of the prostate

Further policies will be developed as the service expands and these will be consulted on separately.

Related documents

Service Specifications:

Proton Beam Therapy Service (All Ages):



  • GPs
  • Nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Clinicians
  • Managers
  • Commissioners
  • Directors of public health
  • Pharmacists
  • Doctors
  • Midwives
  • Health care assistants
  • Healthcare scientists
  • Paramedics
  • Chiropodists/podiatrists
  • Dietitians
  • Occupation therapists
  • Orthotists
  • Orthopists
  • Prosthesists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Diagnostic radiographers
  • Therapeutic radiographers
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Childcare providers
  • Allied health professionals
  • Care-givers
  • Ophthalmic practitioners
  • Responsible officers
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Paediatric neuropsychologists
  • GP Practices
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Practice managers
  • Receptionists
  • Dental surgeons
  • Neonatal and maternity staff
  • Foundation trusts
  • Mental health trusts
  • Community healthcare trusts
  • Tribunal service
  • Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
  • Commissioning support units (CSUs)
  • Strategic clinical networks (SCNs)
  • GP Practices
  • Primary care
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Health Education England
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Local Government Association
  • Monitor
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  • Health and Wellbeing boards
  • Healthwatch (national and local)
  • Health and Social Care Information Centre
  • NHS Trust Development Authority
  • NHS England Partnership Organisations
  • National directors
  • Regional directors
  • Area Team directors
  • All NHS England Staff
  • All P&I staff
  • Policy leads
  • Voluntary groups
  • Community groups
  • Charities
  • Advocacy or support organisations
  • DH third sector strategic partners
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Academic/professional institutions
  • Employer representatives
  • Employee representatives
  • Trade unions
  • Deaneries
  • Higher education institutions
  • Royal Colleges
  • Service providers
  • All interested stakeholders
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Local authorities
  • Social care providers
  • Patients
  • Carers
  • Service users
  • Retailers
  • Suppliers
  • Information providers
  • Information professionals
  • Informatics professionals


  • Specialised commissioning