Teesside doctor takes on new role as Clinical Director for endoscopy training across the North East

Dr Chris Wells, consultant gastroenterologist at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, is taking on the role to oversee endoscopy training in the North East as part of a new organisation.

The Northern Endoscopy Training Academy (NETA) will ensure that endoscopies continue to be delivered safely as the North East welcomes in new waves of doctors and nurses.

Endoscopies are a key service for diagnosing gastrointestinal (digestive system) cancer and even for cancer prevention by identifying polyps – growths of tissue which may turn cancerous over time.

Set to launch in September 2022, the academy has been in development for two years as Chris collaborated with other endoscopy trainers in the region to advance its conceptualisation. It will support and deliver high quality, coordinated training for all trainee endoscopists across the North East and North Cumbria.

Now Chris has been appointed as the Clinical Director for the academy.

He said: “I’m very excited about this role and the academy.

“Performing endoscopy is a key skill for consultants in surgery and gastroenterology. We’re giving these trainees their preparation for their future in endoscopy – something that’s so important in diagnosing cancer.

“At North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, we always get really good feedback from our trainees – now we can ensure that doctors across the North East is receiving effective, competent and a more collaborative training programme.”

As well as the Clinical Director, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will also host the manager and administrator for NETA. Together the team will maintain the Trust’s high profile in endoscopy training and augment its already high reputation amongst regional trainees.

The implementation of NETA means that trainees in surgery and gastroenterology (medicine focused on the digestive system) will get collaborative training at a much quicker pace than previously.

This rapid development will ensure the safe delivery of this vital diagnostic service into the future.

It links together the existing skills course and base hospital training with additional immersion endoscopy training – where blocks of time are dedicated solely to endoscopy at one of the four new endoscopy training rooms, one of which is based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

This immersion training will also be shared with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – where a training room has also been developed. The collaboration aims to enhance working relationships between the two neighbouring organisations and further develop diagnostic services for people across Teesside.

Dedicated training rooms have also been built at Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

This infrastructure has been achieved through collaboration with Health Education England, NHS England and Improvement, the Northern Cancer Alliance and each of the eight secondary care Trusts across the North East and North Cumbria.

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