Alliance Medical

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Alliance Medical's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Alliance Medical is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Managing Director MarkChapman
Purpose-built diagnostic
Over the next ten years, an Alliance Medical-led collaborative
network will be delivering PET-CT services to 60 per cent of
cancer patients in England through an integrated national
service which has increased the number of patients who receive
their diagnostic results within seven days from 67 per cent to
97 per cent within the first two years. The service provides local
access to cutting-edge diagnostics for patients, addressing historic
inequalities and variations. Its aim is to work with clinicians to
continuously improve standards and quality and provide a world-
class service for all. Managing Director Mark Chapman expands.
The network is a partnership between ourselves, The Christie School of Oncology,
the Department of Health, NHS trusts, patient representatives and academic
stakeholders. Its objective is to provide NHS trusts and patients nationwide with
an end-to-end PET-CT diagnostic service with new technology and facilities,
streamlined operations, an expanded workforce and a wider choice of isotopes
while participating in local and national research.
We are Europe’s leading independent provider of imaging services operating across
the continent – in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and
Scandinavia. We provide a proven, scalable business model, exceptional service,
outstanding value for money and technical excellence. In 2016, we were acquired
by Life Healthcare, a leading South African healthcare provider. Life’s vision is to
be a market-leading, international and diversified healthcare provider focused on
delivering sustainable, high-quality and cost-effective healthcare. Combining with
our network is a natural part of Life’s diversification strategy.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 1989
»Based in Warwick
»Part of Life Healthcare
Group, a global healthcare
provider with a presence in 12
international markets
»National network of 60 UK
imaging centres, providing
MRI, PET-CT, CT and other
imaging modalities
»UK’s largest single employer
of radiographers and PET
»600,000 scans annually in the
»Working with over 120 NHS
trusts to provide diagnostic
imaging services
Alliance Medical UK
Helping to close the gap in
cancer survivorship through
enhanced diagnosis
PET-CT is one of the most powerful
imaging tools available to clinicians today
in the diagnosis and staging of cancer
and, increasingly, other conditions such
as cardiac and neurological diseases.
However, demand is increasing,
fuelled by advances in technology,
an increasing incidence of cancer, a
drive for earlier and better diagnosis
and an increased evidence-based
understanding of PET-CT’s capabilities.
In some areas there is a substantial gap
between the number of patients who
would be expected to receive a scan
and those who actually do. As a result,
the UK still significantly lags behind
the rest of Europe in terms of access to
PET-CT scans. In 2013, the UK average
was 1,257 scans per million of the
population compared with the average
in the rest of Europe of 2,900 scans
per million of the population. Cancer
patients are typically diagnosed with
cancer at a later stage in England with
an increased cost to treat and five-
year survival rates currently at 54 per
cent – substantially lower than the 67
per cent average in many developed
European health systems.
By improving the diagnostic pathway
for patients that have cancer, and by
providing faster diagnosis for staging
and disease monitoring of oncological
diseases, PET-CT has become an
integral part of the cancer patient
pathway and of the government’s
drive to meet a 62-day cancer
Our national PET-CT network
»Since we launched in 2016, 97 per
cent of patients progress through
their PET-CT imaging pathway
within seven working days, of which
80 per cent progress within five
»A network of 31 PET-CT sites has
been developed, 29 of which are
static sites.
»The national PET-CT service has seen
a 37 per cent increase in monthly
patient scans since inception in
»Our PET-CT workforce has grown
by 30 per cent since 2016 with
all colleagues having access to
education and training provided by
The Christie School of Oncology.
»Our PET-CT service is clinically rather
than commercially led and has the
overarching objective to enhance
PET-CT provision to support the
NHS and patients to demonstrably
improve cancer survival rates in the
UK, and to progressively broaden the
evidence-based application of PET-
CT to other diseases.
The approach implemented in 2016
achieves this by transitioning PET-CT
services to an installed, static and
future-proofed infrastructure, which
will have the following benefits:
»Access: Enhancing patient access to
high-quality PET-CT services which
are scalable and flexible.
»Drive time: Providing patients with a
localised, standardised and future-
proofed PET-CT service within a
maximum drive time of one hour.
»Permanent installation: Transition
away from a mobile-led service to a
high-quality, static infrastructure.
Diagnosis is the
‘moment of
knowing’. It is
the first step on
the care
Achieving this
crucial moment
economically and
accurately leads
to improved
patient care
Highlighting best practice
»Patient experience: Supporting
clinicians during their patients’ care
pathway through improving the
turnaround time of an investigation
to less than five days.
»Radiotracers: Guaranteeing the
primary and back-up supply
of established and emerging
radiotracers through an integrated
radiopharmacy network.
»Evidence-based service
developments: Delivering
standardised clinical practices and
the introduction of dose reduction
services and radiotherapy planning
using PET-CT.
»Research: Supporting the increase in
the number of clinical research trials
locally and nationally.
»Christie School of Oncology:
Providing the PET-CT workforce with
excellence in training and education.
»Information technology: Proven,
web-based radiology management
»Financial: Investment of £87 million
in the PET-CT imaging infrastructure
in England alongside an 18 per cent
saving on the cost of a scan to the
Faster diagnosis
A key commitment is a reduction in the
time taken to report a PET-CT scan to
a referring clinician. There is currently
variance across the country and under
our PET-CT service, improvements
in the reporting processes, together
with increased local access, will enable
reporting to be standardised to a
maximum of five days for 75 per cent
of all cases.
As well as reducing the anxiety of
waiting for patients and families,
this will provide clinicians with
more information for clinical
review meetings, enabling them
to achieve earlier diagnosis and
Improved UK research
In 2014, we completed the acquisition
of two established radiopharmaceutical
providers. In doing so, we created an
integrated radiotracer support and
imaging organisation that provides the
only integrated PET-CT imaging service in
the UK. The radiotracer operations ensure
continuity and stability of radiotracer
support for PET-CT scanning services,
which is central to the successful provision
of cancer imaging, and we also support
the implementation of an improved
pathway for trialling new clinical
initiatives to broaden the evidence-based
application of PET-CT to other diseases.
Through the PET-CT service, we are
involved with nearly 80 research
trials. Trial topics include various
aspects of dementia, lymphoma,
endometrial, lung and liver cancers in
respect of the prediction of treatment
response, evaluation of dose escalation
requirements, assessing surgical
clearance and the use PET-CT in
radiotherapy planning.
Alongside NHS England, we have
also initiated what will possibly be
the largest study on early diagnosis
of Alzheimer’s disease through a
multicentre, randomised and controlled
12-month study to explore the impact
and utility of PET-CT brain imaging on
the management of patients being
evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and
other causes of cognitive decline.
We know that
diagnosis and
made by
clinicians and
working closely
together is the
key to educated
decision making
and better

This article was sponsored by Alliance Medical. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy