An independent check of treatment plan, prescription and dose calculation as a QA procedure

Radiother Oncol. 1997 Mar;42(3):297-301. doi: 10.1016/s0167-8140(97)01906-3.


In many radiotherapy centres where planning for external beam treatments is performed by radiation therapists, the treatment sheet and its calculations are independently checked by staff from a different educational background, typically a radiotherapy physicist. The benefits of this practice were evaluated in a radiotherapy department with two linear accelerators, one combined superficial-orthovoltage unit and one telecaesium unit. Within the 19 months of the investigation period, 2328 checks were performed on the treatment sheets of 1579 patients. In six cases, errors in excess of 5% were detected, which if uncorrected, could potentially have affected local tumour control or caused normal tissue complications. It was found that an independent check of treatment sheets assists in keeping these errors as low as can be achievable in clinical practice, and suggests that treatment sheet checking and in vivo dosimetry play a complementary role in this aim. Independent treatment sheet checking is an important quality assurance (QA) activity, with additional advantages such as improved communication in the department, education of staff and in vivo dosimetry targeting. Therefore the advantages of the procedure seem to outweigh the additional workload of approximately 0.3 full-time staff per 1000 patients per year.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Physics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Control
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*