Performance and standards for the process of head and neck cancer care: South and West audit of head and neck cancer 1996-1997 (SWAHN I)

M. A. Birchall, D. Bailey, A. Lennon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests wide variation in cancer care between different hospitals in the UK. To establish bench-marking data, we designed a prospective, 1 year regional study comparing key performance measures with established standards for the 28 hospital Trusts in the South and West of England involved in head and neck cancer care. 566 sequential patients with a newly-diagnosed head and neck cancer were included. Numbers referred and treated per hospital Trust were 1-58 and 1-65 respectively. 59% of patients received a pretreatment chest X-ray (standard 95%). 45% of patients were seen in a multidisciplinary clinic pretreatment (standard 95%), and this was proportional to the frequency of clinics held (P < 0.0001). Median number of cases treated per surgeon was 4 (1-26), and by radiotherapist was 10 (1-51). Times between parts of the process of oral cancer care were closer to the standards than those for laryngeal cancer. Two patients were entered into a clinical trial. One had a quality-of-life score. Thus. in 1996-1997, in the South and West of England, there were major discrepancies between actual performance and established standards in many fundamental aspects of head and neck cancer care. Re-audit is essential to determine if the implementation of the Calman-Hine report has resulted in improvements. (C) 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Audit
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Performance indicators
  • Process
  • Standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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