New Head and Neck Cancer Care 'Closer to Home' launched

Posted: December 11, 2018

Patient-inspired collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS England benefits Swindon-area patients

Head and Neck Cancer Support 400Today we are launching a new head and neck cancer clinic in Swindon so that patients in the local area can get specialist care closer to where they live.

The 'Care Closer to Home' project, based on patient feedback, clinical evidence and best practice, has seen the clinic space refurbished and more specialist staff recruited. It is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance, part of NHS England.

The team of head and neck cancer specialists includes a speech and language therapist, a dietitian, a clinical nurse specialist, a clinical psychologist, a restorative dentist, and a patient coordinator.

They will be based at the Great Western Hospital and will see head and neck cancer patients from Swindon and parts of Wiltshire for their follow-up appointments, so they can avoid frequent travel to Oxford University Hospitals.

It is expected to save each patient up to 120 round-trips in total, as fortnightly appointments could be required on average for up to five years.

The project also aims to help free up clinical time at Oxford University Hospitals and will allow some of the patients to choose where they have their follow-up treatment and rehabilitation.

Commenting on the project, Abby Mabil, Macmillan Head and Neck Cancer Project Manager at NHS England, said: "Having to travel long distances for regular follow-up appointments can be stressful.

As well as impacting on patient health, it can also cause money worries because of travel and parking costs and time needed off work.

"That's why Macmillan Cancer Support and the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance have worked closely with patients and clinicians to develop and fund this pilot project."

The overall project was spearheaded by Nick Crowson-Towers, a head and neck cancer survivor and chair of support group Heads2gether, alongside the late Ingrid Goodman from Macmillan Cancer Support, who sadly recently passed away from cancer before she was able to see the clinic welcome its first patients.

Nick Crowson-Towers said: "To witness this clinic open up after five years of the amazing teamwork to get it to this stage gives me such pride. Ingrid would have shared that pride.

"True to the name, the clinic does provide quality Care Closer to Home, locally, for head and neck cancer patients who previously faced numerous stressful journeys to Oxford."

Macmillan has committed around £290,000 of charitable funds to the project.

Further information

Anyone wishing to support Macmillan can do so on the Macmillan Cancer Support website: Join in (

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