The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has appointed a team of seven specialist clinicians to lead a national review into services for head and neck cancer patients.
Commissioned and funded by NHS England’s Cancer Programme, the new workstream will focus on supporting England’s 21 Cancer Alliances to better provide timely, equitable and effective care which delivers the best possible outcomes for both patients and NHS colleagues.
The review aims to cover organisational issues, such as multidisciplinary team (MDT) working and workforce, as well as specific stages along the pathway, including improving the patient’s time to diagnosis and treatment.
A questionnaire for trusts is being prepared to help gather data on the current picture for services, and the team hope to begin deep dive visits with hub trusts and their spoke teams in summer 2023.
The seven new clinical co-leads are:
- Dr Camilla Dawson, a consultant speech and language therapist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, and professional advisor for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
- Jennifer Graystone, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and clinical director of the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance.
- Martin Heaton, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, specialising in head and neck reconstruction and the surgical management of skin cancer.
- Professor Jarrod Homer, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and a consultant head and neck surgeon at the Manchester Head and Neck Centre, part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
- Long Li, lecturer in dietetics at the University of Surrey and a member of the British Dietetic Association oncology specialist group head and neck committee.
- Amanda Naylor, a Macmillan head and neck clinical nurse specialist at the Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and a committee member of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncology Nurses (BAHNON).
- Dr Ketan Shah, a head and neck clinical oncologist, chair of the head and neck MDT and head of radiotherapy at the Oxford Cancer Centre, part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
There are around 12,500 new cases of head and neck cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. The term ‘head and neck’ encompasses more than 30 areas where cancer can develop, including the mouth and lips, voice box (larynx), throat (pharynx), nose and sinuses and the area at the back of the nose and mouth (nasopharynx).