News Archive

Linear Accelerator Research Identifies Community Need in Cancer Treatment

26 January 2017

Linear Accelerator Research Identifies Community Need in Cancer Treatment

New research by RPS has revealed that one in every ten cancer sufferers in Australia is struggling to get access to vital radiation treatments, particularly in suburban and regional areas.


The research also shows taxpayers could be forced to foot a $600 million bill for an explosion in cancer treatment services nationally over the next 15 years, with the number of radiation therapy treatments for cancer to increase from 1.74 million a year in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2031.

Australia currently needs radiation therapy capacity to treat an additional 10,000 patients per year, which will reach 50,000 patients per year in 2031 without additional investment in linear accelerators – or linacs – that are used in this therapy.

Mark Wallace, RPS Regional Technical Director for Economics, said Australia already has close to 200 linac machines, but this number was not meeting community need.

“Australia currently has a shortfall of 27 linacs. That means one in every ten cancer sufferers could face problems getting the treatment they need. Demand is expected to grow rapidly, with the shortfall to reach about 122 linacs by 2031,” Mr Wallace said.

“Without these linacs, more than half of cancer suffers could go without treatment.”

Mr Wallace said the ageing Baby Boomer generation would be the biggest factor in the growth in demand for radiation therapy over the next 15 years.

“Data from State Cancer Councils and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows cancer incidence rates are much higher among older Australians. As the population ages, the number of cancer sufferers increases as well.”

Building new cancer treatment capacity is not cheap with each linear accelerator costing about $5 million to procure.

“Australian Governments – both State and Federal – would need to find more than $600 million to buy the linacs needed to deliver radiation therapies to cancer sufferers,” Mr Wallace said.

“This cost doesn’t include other infrastructure like radiation proof bunkers, facility buildings or the costs to Medicare and the patient of the treatment itself.”

Mark Middleton, CEO of Australia’s leading private cancer treatment provider, Icon Group, says it’s critical for Government to partner with the private sector to meet the emerging gap between radiation treatment capacity and community need.

“The size of the challenge we are all facing is immense,” Mr Middleton said. “Only through genuine collaboration between Government and private providers can Australians get the level and quality of care they deserve into the future.”

Radiation Oncology Centres – Icon Group’s radiation oncology division – has an established network of radiation oncology treatment centres across Queensland and New South Wales and is rapidly expanding across Australia to meet growing need from the community.

“Cancer sufferers in regional Australia deserve more equitable access to life-saving radiation therapy,” Mr Middleton said.

“Additionally, communities in suburban parts of Melbourne and Perth are making long commutes to access treatment in inner-city locations. We need to deliver these services in a more accessible way and that means taking cancer care to the suburbs and regional areas”.

The Australian Government approves all new linacs while State Health Departments are the largest providers of radiation therapies for cancer patients through tertiary public hospitals.

Shortage of Linear Accelerators in Australia - 2016 – 2031

Media Enquiries: Lara Thompson or Lauren Bonser on (07) 3237 8899

Shell International Framework Agreement

19 January 2017

Shell International Framework Agreement

Shell International agreement offers RPS lab services access for international subsidiaries.

Picture: The symbolic ‘first’ samples under the framework agreement that were delivered by Shell to our laboratory in Breda.

The framework agreement for industrial hygiene lab analysis and services was signed between Shell International and RPS in 2016. In principle, all Shell International subsidiaries can tap into the agreement, regardless of the country in which they operate.

RPS has a long business relationship with Shell in the Netherlands. Not only does the framework agreement streamline our administrative process but it furthermore opens up our services to all Shell assets.

Shell selected RPS based on our high level of service which they have experienced in earlier projects working with RPS, including RPS’ quality and reliability of personal air monitoring services. RPS’ particular expertise in innovation in new techniques was demonstrated as we introduced a tailor-made personal air sampling canister and validated it together with Shell. We have previously delivered excellence in our flexibility in highly efficient sampling and fast turnaround times without loss of quality or attention to detail in the case of incidents like in the Shell Moerdijk incident of 2014.

We are very proud to receive the recognition of such a renowned company like Shell International and look forward to the continuation of a very positive long standing relationship.

20th January ICE Webinar: Lunch-and-Learn 3-D Modelling

16 January 2017

20th January ICE Webinar: Lunch-and-Learn 3-D Modelling

RPS’ Dr Grainne McQuaid to host ICE 3-D modelling Photogrammetry webinar with a focus on transport.

Dr. McQuaid

On 20th January 2017, Grainne McQuaid will host her own ICE Webinar on 3-D Modelling Using Noncontact Close Range Photogrammetry. You can register your interest by clicking on the 'book now' button from the link below and following the onscreen instructions.

Methods developed at Ulster University can offer new ways of understanding road surfaces.

Road surface texture is important at a range of scales. At a mega-scale potholes are a problem to road users and anyone involved in maintenance. Macro-scale relates to the roughness of a road and its ability to disperse water. This is particularly important at higher road speeds and is necessary to ensure safety in wet conditions.

As a micro-scale, the surface texture of individual aggregate particles is essential to cut through films of water between the tyre blocks and the aggregate to ensure points of contact and reduce the risk of aqua-planning.

This webinar considers how 3-D models based on non-contact Close Range Photogrammetry methods developed at Ulster University can offer new ways of better understanding these texture related properties. The method offers substantial scope for creating accurate cost effective 3-D models across a variety of texture scales right through to its use even for topographical surveys.

Challenges and Opportunities for Stakeholder Engagement

11 January 2017

Challenges and Opportunities for Stakeholder Engagement

RPS’ Neasa Kane-Fine reflects on challenges and opportunities in the future of PR.

Neasa Kane-Fine, Director of RPS Project Communications contributed to November’s Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ) on the future of PR. As RPS is strongly focused on public consultation and stakeholder engagement, Neasa reflected on the challenges and opportunities faced in this area – read full article below.


Our work involves advising on and delivering consultations that allow for public and stakeholder participation, whether it is to inform development of a new public policy, sustainability campaign or infrastructure project. We also develop and manage relationships to build trust with the communities and many stakeholders impacted by public infrastructure projects and construction.

Public participation is healthy and necessary to inform projects and policies. In recent years the industry has seen a seismic shift in the quantity and content of submissions made to public consultations, thanks to increased awareness through online and social media platforms and multiple devices.

Interestingly, we still see a larger proportion – about 60% – of public consultation submissions being made in writing and submitted via traditional post, rather than through email or online consultation forums that we facilitate. Many people have told us that when they believe something is important, they prefer to write it out and post it, so we facilitate that.

With access to so much information online, including through social media, we need to ensure that accurate and factual information is easily accessible so we are now developing more animated video and infographics that quickly and simply explain complex projects and policy issues, as well as continuing to utilise print and broadcast media.

Another trend we see is that with more people aware of projects thanks to social media campaigns and increased mobilisation of interest groups via Facebook and Twitter, social media often makes it difficult for some to discuss their views openly online. Social media campaigns against public policy or projects often promote polarised positions and questioning or differing views rarely raise their head in the online discussions.

Looking ahead? Social media needs to mature to enable a grown up, inclusive and informed debate about important policy and issues, where all views can be expressed and respected. Social media will never replace direct engagement as meaningful consultation builds understanding as well as addressing issues and concerns, but tools like Twitter and Facebook ensure we reach all our audiences with engaging content.

Data management is a growing area for us and we see more and more large projects requiring bespoke cloud based systems to manage stakeholder and project data across multiple platforms and users, and this need will continue. Demand for creativity will never cease.

Video will continue to grow in importance too. Print will remain relevant for particular projects and certain demographics, but print will become more graphics driven as people have less and less time to consume the written word.

Finally, more than ever, there is a strong need for quality traditional journalism; to objectively establish the facts and provide balance through impartial reporting and valid questioning of all positions.

RPS’ Belfast Office Strikes Gold with Environmental Benchmark

06 January 2017

RPS’ Belfast Office Strikes Gold with Environmental Benchmark

RPS’ Belfast office has been awarded Gold in the Arena Network Environmental Benchmarking Survey for the second year.

Since 1998, the Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey has assessed the extent to which environmental business practices have been embedded within the corporate strategies and operations of local organisations. The survey is designed to encourage organisations to identify measures and understand their environmental impacts, to continuously seek for better environmental performance and to benchmark themselves against their peers across Northern Ireland.

Over the last decade it has grown to become Northern Ireland’s leading environmental benchmarking exercise, attracting organisations from over 14 industry sectors including participants from the top 200 companies and leading public sector organisations such as health trusts, local authorities, education and library boards and universities.

The survey is a key driver for corporate environmental management and improvement. It is recognised as a positive influencer that is helping organisations throughout Northern Ireland achieve more sustainable ways of doing business.