Head and Neck Audit

Data for Head and Neck Oncology (DAHNO)  provided vital information about the delivery of treatment for head and neck patients for many years. Though there were flaws and limitations in the completeness of its reports, it gave patients and carers valuable information in assessing the care that was provided.

Since the tenth DAHNO report covering 2014, I have found no audit information about head and neck cancer. HANA took over from DAHNO and collected a limited amount of data in its first year of operation. It was then handicapped by the withdrawal of financial support for its work. I am currently uncertain as to whether the audit is dead or alive.

The DAHNO group was a valuable forum. It had members from all the clinical groups involved in delivering care to head and neck patients, as well as patient, carer and voluntary sector members, such as NALC. The NICE Quality Standards for head and neck, published in 2017, relied upon the evidence that the audit would provide. For example one of the quality standards was about giving patients choice about surgery or other treatment options. Without the audit there is no way of getting information about what is actually happening to patients.