In the Picture

A nationwide shortage of medical professionals trained in colonoscopy techniques was impacting on waiting times for patients. We wanted to improve the education and training facilities available to help address this shortage.

A £150,000 investment from GUTS provided the latest AV training equipment linking operating theatres and endoscopy suites at the Royal Surrey with MATTU (Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit). Doctors and nurses can see live endoscopic and laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) procedures in high-definition detail, and speak with the surgeons and other clinical specialists as they carry them out. Watching and learning from experts is an indispensable part of the training process. The money GUTS raised was matched by hospital funds.

Reducing waiting times, improving outcomes

So why is this so important for bowel cancer patients? Colonoscopy is the first line of referral for anyone who has either presented to their GP with particular symptoms or who is flagged as needing further investigation through the screening programme. As well as affecting waiting times for patients, the shortage of trained colonoscopists is a major barrier to lowering the starting age for bowel cancer screening. After a bowel cancer diagnosis, surgery is usually the first treatment. Nationally 54% of major resections are now carried out laparoscopically, although at the Royal Surrey the number is over 90%. Where cancers haven’t spread, keyhole procedures will almost always result in a more rapid recovery for patients.

GUTS Chairman, colorectal consultant Iain Jourdan says: “This equipment will allow training of surgeons and nurses in the latest techniques in the care of colorectal cancer patients. GUTS will be playing a major role in ensuring that the surgeons and nurses of the future – and indeed those of the present – are trained to deliver the highest quality of care to patients.”

This project is typical of the kind of practical, real-world solutions we fund to improve outcomes for bowel cancer patients.


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