Jane’s national award for improving the lives of people with cancer in Ghana

Monday 12th November 2018

Jane’s national award for improving the lives of people with cancer in Ghana

Jane Dawson, Principal Speech and Language Therapist (Head and Neck Oncology), at Queen Victoria Hospital, has been awarded a prestigious accolade by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in recognition of the support she’s given fellow clinicians in West Africa.

The Giving Voice Award was presented to Jane in recognition of her devotion to developing the clinical skills of head and neck oncology professionals working in Ghana to help improve the quality of life for patients.

Judges were impressed with Jane’s commitment, both professionally and personally, to dramatically improve the communication and swallowing care of Ghanaian patients with head and neck cancer. Jane also helped devise a syllabus of clinical education and a competency framework as part of sharing her learning with her new colleagues based over 4,000 miles away.

Jane’s involvement coincided with many years’ work by three speech and language therapists in Ghana to start their own training programme, a two calendar year, post graduate training course. Jane has taught as one of a number of international specialists on their training programme and since September this year there are now a total of 15 therapists in Ghana.

Queen Victoria Hospital is a specialist centre for major cancer and reconstructive surgery of the head and neck. Its services are recognised regionally, nationally, and also internationally, for the specialist expertise offered. Jane and her team work closely alongside the hospital’s surgeons, oncologists, psychological therapists, dieticians and specialist nurses to offer coordinated state-of-the-art care to both inpatients and outpatients.

Commenting on her award Jane said: “I was genuinely taken aback and surprised to discover I’d won an award. More than that, I felt, and still feel, so glad on behalf of my colleagues out in Ghana and the patients with whom I had input over there. This award helps highlight what is needed and shows what can be achieved with exchange of ideas and advice. Ultimately the aim is to help them to have a sustainable service and to become self-reliant.”

Dr Ed Pickles, Medical Director at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “We are delighted that the support Jane has given to the team in Ghana has been recognised by this respected national award. We know firsthand how important speech and language therapy is for patients with head and neck cancer, helping to improve their quality of life. We are proud that the skills and expertise Jane has developed here at Queen Victoria Hospital working with our patients is now making an important impact internationally too.”

Pictured: Jane Dawson, principal speech and language therapist (head and neck oncology), at Queen Victoria Hospital, is presented with her Giving Voice award by RCSLT president Sir George Cox. Photo credit Geoff Wilson

For more information please contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.