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No, you haven’t overlooked a sequel to the 2008 epic film, but in case you missed the second Members’ Event focussing on Cardiovascular Services in July 2015 here is a flavour of what happened. The blood, as in the first event, was only in pictures on the screen in order to demonstrate some of the complex surgery performed to the audience of around 100 which packed out the Lecture Theatre in the Post-Graduate Centre at St Peter’s Hospital.

First to speak was Dr Ian Beeton, Consultant Cardiologist, who introduced the Consultant Team by way of photographs, which in itself was wide ranging covering medicine, surgery, anaesthetics and radiology. He then described some of the procedures carried out before talking about how to prevent having to undergo them. While the trials on the effects of taking aspirin regularly were conflicting there was a warning not to stop suddenly if you were taking them!

Mr Barun Majumder, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, followed and he spoke about the contribution made to the quality of service by best research evidence. From the more routine varicose vein treatment, which may not be surgery at all, through to the timing of major cardiac surgery from when symptoms began to the operation itself, the evidence gained from research was invaluable. Patients were benefitting from this considerably. Quite a different perspective was contributed by Dr Mark MacGregor, Consultant Vascular Anaesthetist. Traditionally, anaesthetists saw patients on the day of their operation but Dr MacGregor was able to outline his close involvement well before then. Out-patient consultations which he called ‘prehabilitation’ led to better outcomes. There could be shared decision making with patients and risks and expectations could be discussed. The anaesthetist’s vital role during surgery was the same and post-operatively, in intensive care for example, this close involvement continued.

Mr Abdulla Jibawi, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, spoke about the Vascular Team being so much wider than those performing surgery and the important contribution made by everyone involved in the care on the wards and in the various departments, and this included secretarial and other office staff. Even though resources were limited, the team was able to give immediate support to other specialties in the hospitals. Mr Jibawi then introduced a word which was probably new to most of the audience – BIOMIMICRY – an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. This took some explaining but by using biomimicry, the Vascular Team was continually reinventing itself to design its services taking into account priorities measured by patients and staff.

Yet another different perspective was the contribution by Dr Shirish Prabhudesai, Consultant Radiologist. He explained that interventional radiology had expanded rapidly over the past 10-15 years. The department at St Peter’s, with state of the art equipment, was able to offer a cost effective 24 hour service and was one of only 22 in the country given exemplary status. Explaining the various procedures undertaken (aligning some of them to ‘plumbing’), working closely with the Vascular Surgeons, Dr Prabhudesai, said that inpatient time had been reduced considerably and most patients went home on the same day. Major surgery was most often prevented and there was a high level of patient satisfaction.

Mr Tahir Ali, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, brought a patient with him who had only been discharged on the previous day after having had an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (Triple A) only two weeks earlier. The patient was able to tell his very interesting story. This example enabled Mr Ali to expand on the Vascular Service in the Trust which had grown particularly over the past four years and reduced the need for patients to travel to St George’s Hospital for many procedures.

The final speaker was Mr Neil Browning, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, who was able to give an update on the AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm) Screening Programme in Surrey. Screening is offered to men in the year of their 65th birthday but any who missed out because it wasn’t available when they became 65 may request it. It is not offered to women because the incidence of women having this kind of aneurysm is so low - 5:1. The Trust has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country for elective AAA surgery – 0.5% Mr Browning added to his colleagues’ presentations by speaking about the Vascular Service generally. He emphasised that there was already Consultant cover seven days a week and a 24 hour on call system provided by the six Consultant Surgeons. This was not only to patients within their ‘own’ specialty but by giving support to other specialties throughout the Trust. The future of the service depended on it being available to and used by a large population, currently 800,000, so a merger with the Royal Surrey County Hospital and other partnerships in the future was vital. Mr Browning asked for members to give their support to the service continuing within Ashford & St Peter’s.

There are at least two ways to measure how interesting for an audience an event like this actually is, and how much it is appreciated. These are the number of questions asked and their ‘quality’, and even when the session overruns virtually everyone remains in their seats. This is what happened on 28th July, and still the blood was only seen in pictures!


Article written by Keith Bradley, Governor for Woking and Guildford


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