Centralisation of Services

It appears that surgery for head and neck cancer in the former North Trent region will be carried at one centre instead of two within the next few months. Chesterfield Royal will no longer be the second centre for this area, instead all patients will have surgery carried out at the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

Head and neck tumours are amongst the rarer cancers. The multiplicity of sites and the complications that this presents means this change is inevitable and welcome.

Two factors need to be taken seriously in managing this change. There will be a small % of patients who refuse treatment in a distant specialist centre, who need consideration. It is also essential that ancillary services such as speech and language therapy are not downgraded in the localities served by the specialist surgical centre.