Brake Welcomes St Helier £1.4 million investment in 'life saving' endoscopy unit

November 6, 2010 6:34 PM

The endoscopy team (who examine patients' digestive and respiratory systems using miniscule cameras) at St Helier Hospital are celebrating a £1.4 million cash boost. The new investment, which has been funded by the Trust's annual capital programme, means that more patients will be able to get the treatment they need, faster than ever before.

The team has been by bolstered with a new doctor and four new nurses, as well as additional support from non-clinical staff, such as porters, to help the smooth running of the unit. It comes as increasing numbers of people are being referred to have potentially life saving tests which could detect illnesses such as lung and bowel cancer, and tuberculosis (TB).

Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said: "Recognising the financial challenge we face in the UK, it's great to see the Trust investing so much money into improving the care they provide. This is obviously fantastic news for local people, and those further afield, who use the service at St Helier."

Samantha Jones, Trust Chief Executive, said: "This investment is vitally important - it means patients can get the tests they need quicker than ever before, and those who do require treatment, for instance someone with a life-threatening cancer, can start it sooner which, in turn, could help save their life."

Dr Ashraf Raja is the Trust's lead doctor for endoscopy and has worked for the Trust for more than 10 years. Dr Raja said: "In 1990, we were seeing between 1,500 and 2,000 patients who needed endoscopic procedures a year. This year we will see over 8,000.

"Medical scopes are getting smaller and smaller, and you can do so much with them these days that very often they are the first test a patient has, apart from maybe a blood test. Modern techniques enable doctors to quickly take biopsies (tissue samples for further testing) from inside the patient and remove polyps (abnormal tissue growths) without the need for surgery."

The massive cash injection doesn't stop there. The unit itself has been completely overhauled to include a brand new, state-of-the-art treatment room, the third at the hospital, and a cutting edge decontamination room for cleaning, processing and storing the endoscopes which are used by the team, which cost £600,000 alone.

The investment has also funded a larger, brighter recovery area, costing £80,000 and a brand new waiting room for patients, costing £150,000 (which was funded by the St Helier League of Friends). All the areas contain brand new bed trolleys for patients, brand new clinical trolleys for equipment, brand new chairs for visitors, brand new lights, brand new windows and brand new curtains.

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