National Radiotherapy Dataset (RTDS)

The Radiotherapy Data Set (RTDS) standard (SCCI0111) is an existing standard that has required all NHS Acute Trust providers of radiotherapy services in England to collect and submit standardised data monthly against a nationally defined data set since 2009.

The purpose of the standard is to collect consistent and comparable data across all NHS Acute Trust providers of radiotherapy services in England in order to provide intelligence for service planning, commissioning, clinical practice and research and the operational provision of radiotherapy services across England.

RTDS has provided and will continue to provide intelligence to underpin the strategic objectives for radiotherapy services defined in the National Radiotherapy Implementation Group report “Radiotherapy Services in England” (2012) and NHS England/Cancer Research UK “Vision for Radiotherapy 2014 – 2024”.  

The main recommendations of these reports are synthesised in the Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes Strategy, which indicates the main areas where data and information can underpin the monitoring and outcomes of key dimensions of the future development of radiotherapy in England.

‘Radiotherapy can cure cancers, can assist in alleviating symptoms and is cost effective. It is second only to surgery in its effectiveness in treating cancer, and experts suggest around 4 in 10 patients whose cancer is cured receive radiotherapy. Thirty eight per cent of cancer patients in England currently have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. International benchmarks suggest this should be closer to 50 per cent

Recent advances in radiotherapy using cutting-edge imaging and computing technology have helped target radiation doses more precisely. As a result, they enable better outcomes, with improved quality of life for patients and reduced NHS Costs in the long term through patients suffering fewer side effects. Historically the NHS has not adopted new techniques into clinical practice in a consistent and equitable way across England. In 2014, NHS England and Cancer Research UK jointly published a Vision for Radiotherapy. This recommended that all patients should receive advanced and innovative radiotherapy that had been shown to be clinically and cost effective’

The management and delivery of the national Radiotherapy Data Set (RTDS) until March 31st 2016 will lie with the National Clinical Analysis and Specialised Applications Team (NATCANSAT) which is based at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust. 

Public Health England (PHE) will take over full responsibility for RTDS with effect from 1 April 2016.

Since PHE is responsible for the national collection of the Cancer Outcomes and Services Data Set COSD SCCI1521 and the Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy data set SACT ISB1533, both of which are national cancer information standards, it was determined that RTDS should not be commissioned outside PHE and should be managed by the National Cancer Registration Service (NCRS), allowing greater integration of the management, collection, quality assurance and analysis of radiotherapy data alongside the other major national cancer data sets.

Clinical input into the analysis of radiotherapy data will be secured through the National Cancer Intelligence Network’s site-specific clinical reference groups and NHS England’s Radiotherapy clinical reference group.

For any queries regarding the Radiotherapy Dataset, please email


December 2016

July 2016

Radiotherapy data specifications