4 December 2023

RCSLT have published updated head and neck cancer guidance, including a laryngectomy competency framework and position paper as well as information for the public. 

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) have expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of voice, speech, and swallowing difficulties resulting from head and neck cancer and its treatment.  

The updated guidance and resources were developed by a working group of SLTs and provides best practice guidance for SLTs working in head and neck cancer. The updated information covers the treatment, impact and risk factors for head and neck cancer and the role of speech and language therapy when working with patients with head and neck cancer.  

We have created guidance specifically for our members working in this specialist area (including a list of relevant resources) and general information for anyone who would like to find out more about how SLTs work with people with head and neck cancer. 

The laryngectomy position paper sets out the role of SLTs working in this area and encompasses the following: background and evidence base, training and competencies, procedure and interpretation, health and safety, types of clinics, medico-legal aspects, patient populations and documentation. The laryngectomy competency framework reflects guiding principles in laryngectomy care, to ensure safe and best practice for SLTs working with people with laryngectomy within a head and neck cancer caseload and with access to suitable clinical supervision. 

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank the working group and everyone who has provided their expertise, feedback and input into the guidance at each stage of the process.