The Rotary Club of Clay Cross has supported us again during the year and Countrywide Supplies assisted us with the travel costs to the NALC Patient Day in Nottingham. We have been the grateful recipients of some sizeable donations and our members have also contributed by generously supporting raffles and in other ways. As a result, our income has broadly matched our expenditure and the group continues to have a secure financial position.
Meetings and Membership
We have held 10 afternoon business meetings and 10 evening social meetings, mostly at The Olde House, Chesterfield. Attendance at meetings has been good during the year and we have 25 patient members, We have recruited new members in Notts and Lincs but sadly 2 members have passed away. Partners/carers have, as usual, played a very important role in our work. Following the closure of the Kings Mill Laryngectomy Club and the continued absence of a laryngectomee group in Nottingham we are continuing to try to support patients beyond the Chesterfield Royal Hospital catchment area, and this has included responding to requests for help from Nottinghamshire Social Services.
A summer evening meal was organised at the Hackney House in Barlow. The members and friends present enjoyed good food in comfortable surroundings. Our Christmas lunch, at The Olde House, was well supported. Again we entered two teams into the Mayor’s charity quiz evening, at The Olde House. Ten members attended the NALC Annual Lunch in York in September and 15 attended the NALC Patient Day in Nottingham in February. A trip to the Victorian weekend in Matlock was also arranged in December.
As in the previous year, at an afternoon meeting, we welcomed representatives from Platon Medical to demonstrate new prescription items for laryngectomees. Members enjoy these sessions and they have proved to be of real benefit to them.
Other Activities and Developments
We have maintained strong links with the Chesterfield Cancer Drop-in Centre. Two of our members, along with Dave and Barbara Wallace from the centre, are heavily involved in the group that have been successful in organising a minibus to take patients from Chesterfield to Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield for radiotherapy.
We continue to have many members who are also members of Heading Forward, the support group run by the specialist nurses from Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
As mentioned above we have attempted to support patients in Nottinghamshire, and more recently Lincolnshire, who have no support group of their own.
There have been fewer requests from Chesterfield Royal Hospital for support for patients facing a laryngectomy but we have responded to every request received.
We have continued to network with other health-related voluntary groups through NDVA.
Our Secretary, Malcolm Babb, was elected President of the National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs.
We organised a focus group to gather opinions on treatment modalities – surgery/radiotherapy /chemotherapy – and the results assisted a proposed clinical trial CompARE to achieve funding from Cancer Research UK. This will be one of the most significant head and neck cancer trials in the next 5 years.
2013 saw the passing of Brian Roberts, a member of 5 years standing. Brian particularly enjoyed the social opportunities HNChelp provided, along with his daughter Pam, He will be missed very much and we are very grateful to the Roberts family for their generous donation in his memory, which will help support our work in the future.
Links: Members of our group have been involved with:
North Trent Cancer Network: Head and Neck Site Specific Group, Patient Partnership Group and the Consumer Research Panel. (Since North Trent was absorbed into a wider Yorkshire network the groups have continued but their activity will reduce, due to lack of funding, from April 2014))
North Derbyshire Cancer Action (formerly the North Derbyshire Cancer Services User Group)
National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs General Committee
National Cancer Research Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Studies Group
National Cancer Intelligence Network Head & Neck Cancer Clinical Reference Group
Clinical Reference Group B16 – Complex Head and Neck (NHS England) (Specialist Commissioning)
North Derbyshire Voluntary Action
Providing a patient perspective for a variety of cancer research studies and trials.
We will continue to expand our programme of social activities.
We will try to build on our contacts in Notts and Lincs to improve the support we can offer in those areas.
Though we made no progress last year in producing video resources for laryngectomees, we hope to do so in the forthcoming years.
With the larger cancer networks, there will be fewer opportunities to represent our members but we will take the opportunities provided, including in the forthcoming consultation on the reconfiguration of head and neck services.