Network News - 10 July 2017

Who said this about the New Zealand health system? "We have a world-class health system but third class treatment, and we have the capacity to make a big difference. Not enough people with the greatest need are getting access to our services because we're stuck in a 19th-century view, but it's the 21st century."

Not me, and I do agree. It was Dr Lance O'Sullivan, New Zealander of the year, Far North GP and public health champion. (Evans, 2017)

He went on to say, "I don't think we should be having health services delivered by doctors in clinics - we need to rethink things, be brave and aim for better faster and more convenient care." I am sure this comment resonates with those affected by head and neck cancer. 

There are two points that arise from Lance's comments. The first is the need for health to embrace, not just adopt technology, and the second is the need for more funding into our healthcare system.

Our Network has none of the following: paid staff, bricks and mortar, leased premises, vehicles or telephone lines. We have a website hub, lots of free tools, a committed community of volunteers, and some sass. It is this model that has made us successful in a very short space of time. We were brave, and we rethought how to bring support to people affected by head and neck cancer. Our model is working well. Health can be much more effective and efficient with the adoption of new technologies. 

The second point, is the need for New Zealand to invest in health care. As there is an election looming, I would like you to think about the health dollar. Health’s operational budgets have been falling as a proportion of GDP over recent years—an intentional policy move flagged by Treasury in a document dated June 2012. Treasury data, including recent GDP adjustments, show Vote Health’s total operational expenditure has decreased as a proportion of GDP from 6.32% in 2009/10 to 5.95% in 2014/15.

We need to ensure that the health dollar is increased to meet the challenges of an ageing and increasing population. If you have the opportunity over the next few months to chat to a politician or aspiring one, make sure you raise the need to increase health spending. (New Zealand Medical Journal, 2016)

Fundraising 2017

Donate via Givealittle

July is the month we fundraise for our Network. Our funds are used to provide the website, publications for promotions, and support for our patients (Patient Care Packs). We do not have a membership fee to belong to the Network. Instead we ask each member to donate an amount they believe is fair based on their circumstances. So far this year we have raised $300. We ask you to give a monetary donation which will help us continue to connect, support, and advocate for people affected by head and neck cancer. You can donate, by going to Give a Little, (Click the image to the left for the link) or make a cash deposit direct to our bank account. Head and Neck Cancer Survivors' Support Network Kiwibank 38-9017-0819902-01

World Head and Neck Cancer Day.

We are busy preparing for the event. We are lucky as we will be the first patient support organisation to kick the day off. We have plenty of events arranged around New Zealand. Please check here for details.

If you are in Auckland be sure to join us at North Shore Hospital from 1-2pm in 27 July, 2017. If you have events planned, please let us know, and we will add them to our website.

And don't forget to wear Red. #awaREDness. If you would like a ribbon to wear, please email us, and we will send them by post.

You will be able to follow all the fun, on Facebook, Twitter #whncd2017 and #whncdnz and on our website.

New Groups

Our first group is the Lary Group. This group is for those people who have undergone a laryngectomy treatment. This is an especially challenging medical intervention, and patients are likely to gain from sharing together. Tammy von Keisenberg is already there in the group to welcome and support your. Please sign up for the group here.

Another very special group is the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) group. ACC is a unique type of head and neck cancer which isslow growing and persistent. Suffers can share together in our new site. I will be there to welcome and support you. You can join the new group here.

Popular Posts

These are the most read posts on our site. Look out for Part II of the Path to Diagnosis. Just posted.

How to raise awareness of our support network on World Head and Neck Cancer Day? How to make new head and neck cancer patients aware that we exist and they are not alone? Diana and Olwen came up with a plan: provide care packs for patients undergoing treatment. 

We had recently rebranded with our tui…

Read more…

Being a Caregiver

When one member of the family gets cancer, the whole family gets it, people say. In our head and neck cancer community we have many members who have become strong advocates for their partners. Here is one such story of love and commitment. 

Taking on the role of caregiver came to me on two occasions only a few short years apart.  Suddenly and devastatingly each time, with no warning and no instruction manual.  It landed on my lap by default…

Read more…

Path to Diagnosis, Part 1

With WHNCD less than a month away, I am replacing Friendly Friday with stories on aspects of head and neck cancer care. Olwen Williams collected and collated these stories.

Head and  neck cancers have a variety of symptoms and are often not recognised for some time.  Here’s how a number of people were diagnosed. These symptoms include a cough, a sore on the tongue, a swelling on the nose, swallowing problems, blocked sinuses. Other members, not…

Read more…

Finally, I will be off line for a while as I am to have some surgery. I will be back in time for World Head and Neck Cancer Day.

Ka kite ano,

Diana Ayling



Evans, J. (2017) Ingenio. University of Auckland, Autumn. P. 31.

Retrieved from the New Zealand Medical Journal

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Authored by Diana Ayling

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