Two new clinical leads join GIRFT head and neck cancer review

Two new clinical leads have joined the GIRFT team working on head and neck cancer, offering their expertise in restorative dentistry to the national review.

Lorna MacNab is a consultant and honorary clinical senior lecturer in restorative dentistry at the Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, as well as being the head and neck cancer clinical excellence network lead for Restorative Dentistry UK (RD-UK).

Martin Ashley is a consultant and honorary professor in restorative dentistry and oral health at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and chair of RD-UK. Last year he led the GIRFT review of restorative dentistry coding, resulting in the recent publication of national coding guidance, and he previously co-wrote the NHS England Restorative Dentistry Commissioning Guide with NHS England’s Deputy Chief Dental Officer.

In March, GIRFT launched its national review of services for head and neck cancer patients, which is commissioned and funded by NHS England’s Cancer Programme.

The workstream aims to support 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, and will 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.

Lorna and Paul join seven other clinical leads already appointed to the workstream, addressing speech and language therapy, oral and maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, head and neck surgery, dietetics, oncology and nursing.

There are around 12,500 new cases of head and neck cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. Evidence shows that patients’ number one concern is cancer survival, with their second most pressing concern being oral and dental issues such as dry mouth and chewing ability. Restorative dentistry consultants play a key role in the patient pathway, offering specialist clinical care to patients through the diagnostic process and at the oral rehabilitation stage.

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