As you know there is an article in the New Zealand Herald investigating the Head and Neck Cancer service in Auckland. The Network has responded to questions from the NZH. I am enclosing our full statement below.
It is important at this time that no one feels alone or distressed. If anyone is distressed by the media attention or feels they need support, please contact either Maureen or myself. We are here to help patients, their carers, and families/whanau. Contact details are on our website http://headandneck.org.nz/ or message us through the Facebook Group.
Everyone has the right to comment on the story, and share their experiences with the media. If you want to speak to the media and tell your story, we are very happy to work with you and support you.
Your Committee are working hard for you. We will continue to work with the DHBs to improve services in the Auckland/Northland region.
We value all your comments, questions, and feedback. Please feel free to share. You will realise this is a difficult situation to navigate. We are living the Network values of being caring, respectful, engaged and informed.
Head and Neck Cancer Survivors’ Support Network
Reply to Nicholas Jones - New Zealand Herald
We supported the recommendations of the final report. We are cautiously supportive of the hub and spoke model for the regional head and neck cancer service. Most importantly, we want the four DHBs to collaborate to make a first class service for our people in Northland/Auckland.
As above, we are working with the four DHBs through the Northern Regional Alliance to implement the recommended changes to the service. We are not aware of any specific concerns about delays in diagnosis and treatment as the information was not made available to the Review Group.
(Question about a specific patient)
This experience was pre the role of Cancer Nurse Specialist being instigated. We would expect this gap in care to now be highlighted by the Clinical Nurse Specialist. The Network is pushing hard for all patients to have a thorough aftercare plan, where all supportive multidisciplinary services are planned to aid/improve quality of life issues for all patients post treatments .
Head and neck cancers are complex and difficult to treat. Patients need a high performing team of experts in a range of fields including ORL, plastics, and maxillofacial surgery, oncology and allied health. Ideally, this multidisciplinary team is well led, collaborative and inclusive.
Five members from our Network are taking part in the workshops and meetings. Our voices are being heard and management has been keen to implement some of the changes we have suggested. There are certainly unmet needs in the head and neck cancer patient population but we have confidence that our presence in the working groups will help fill some of these gaps.
Head and neck cancer is a truly awful disease that impacts on daily life for many of us. We aim to advocate strongly for improvements in the service.