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University of Cumbria chosen by NHS to train specialist cancer staff

John Freeman
The University of Cumbria will soon be helping to ease the shortage of specialist cancer staff in the NHS after it was announced as the sole provider of a new national training course based on its Lancaster campus.

Working in partnership with a range of NHS trusts in England, the university will train physics graduates allowing them to work in roles which are pivotal to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The university was awarded the national tender by the NHS through its Modernising Scientific Careers programme and will be the only university in the country offering this course.

The Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Sciences will feature a combination of attendance and distance learning, with students qualifying at the end of the course as a healthcare science practitioner specialising in nuclear medicine or radiotherapy.

Graduates will be recruited by their NHS trust and will alternate between working in a hospital and studying at the university’s Bowerham Road campus in Lancaster.

Charles Sloane is a principal lecturer within the university’s Department of Health and Sport Sciences, and has been integral to the development of this course.

“This is a very exciting development for the university. It has been a real pleasure working closely with clinical partners and the team at Modernising Scientific Careers within the NHS," he commented.  “Their motivation in helping us shape and deliver the programme will quickly increase the number of front line staff available in hospitals who diagnose patients with severe illnesses and with the treatment of cancer.

 “As there is currently a severe shortage of NHS staff in this field, the introduction of this course will enormously benefit the NHS service in delivering timely care to cancer patients.”

This two-year course will be launched in January and is open to graduates who have a degree in physics or applied physics.

The course has been developed in partnership with Christie Hospital in Manchester, which is one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe, and Rosemere Cancer Centre at Royal Preston Hospital.

• For more information on the course, visit