NHS staff transforming endoscopy care in Sierra Leone

A HEALTH trust’s endoscopy team’s mission to transform the care in an African hospital is continuing to develop – with a further trip planned.

In November, five members of the endoscopy service at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will be travelling to Choithram Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

It will be the third year in a row that the team have made the journey with colleagues from the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including Dr David Nylander who is from Sierra Leone.

The five making the trip are consultant gastroenterologists Chris Wells, Roisin Bevan and John Hancock and clinical research nurse Barbara Campbell and healthcare assistant Holly Kennedy.

Dr Wells said: “In our first year we taught four doctors the basics of gastroscopy and the nurses the basics of endoscopy maintenance.

“Last year we travelled with Barbara & Holly who brought a wealth of endoscopy expertise that has been used to embed  a robust nursing admission process and system of scope cleaning and maintenance.

“This year John, Barbara, Holly and I are returning with Rosh Bevan. This will be to further develop the work we have carried out so far where we have helped set up a fledgling endoscopy service.

“We will be carrying out more training, ensuring the health team there have the expertise to provide the very best endoscopic treatment and care to patients with upper GI conditions.”

Research nurse Barbara Campbell added: “This year we have put together a training package for nurses and a portfolio to recognise their new skills and enable them to work in endoscopy services. This will provide them with the help and support they need to continue to develop.

“Sierra Leone has always had a high incidence of gastric reflux due to people’s diet and lifestyle – before this project these people had no access to endoscopy services to help with diagnosis or treatment.

“Now they have that which is fantastic and an amazing achievement for the team of staff who have travelled there to help.”

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