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Ground-breaking link between Northumbria and Tanzania wins national award

Tuesday, 06 November, 2018
Ground-breaking link between Northumbria and Tanzania wins national award

A revolutionary tele-monitoring link between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) has been honoured at the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2018.

The trust’s video link with KCMC won the prestigious ‘Patients Choice’ award and was highly commended in both the ‘Best Use of Technology’ and ‘Clinicians Choice’ categories.

The connection has enabled a surgical team from Northumbria to teach laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to colleagues 5,000 miles away at KCMC via a dedicated IT link. The hospital is the primary source of acute medical care for a population of approximately 15 million people.

As a result, more than1000 procedures have been successfully completed; dramatically reducing overcrowding on surgical wards, the time patients need to stay hospital – vital as such services are hugely expensive in Tanzania – and ultimately saving lives as a result.

Dr Liam Horgan, consultant laparoscopic surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare said:

“This has been revolutionary. To be able to train surgeons – remotely – on a regular basis rather be limited to once or twice a year means we are able to make a noticeable impact and really help the team at KCMC to improve the experiences of their patients.

“This is only possible thanks to the innovative IT solutions developed by Colin Dobbyne and the team at Big Blue Solutions who gave us the support we needed to make it happen.

“Hopefully this technology will enable clinicians from all over the world to share their experiences and expertise in the years to come.”

Colin Dobbyne, Managing Director at Big Blue Solutions said:

“Imagine a people shoring up a primitive healthcare service, patients waiting days to be seen, no ambulances, friends and neighbours collecting the injured and dead from road traffic accidents in their trucks, and many operative procedures, standard in the west, being simply unavailable.

“The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation has worked tirelessly with A&E, the burns unit, obstetrics, etc at KCMC for nearly 20 years. We went there to specifically help them develop keyhole surgery, and the benefits are now well documented.

“My wobbly video link to Newcastle provided the reassuring hand on Dr Kondo’s shoulder until he was self-sufficient, and now the service is in full flight.”

The award comes nearly two decades after Northumbria Healthcare first established a partnership with KCMC. Involving teams of volunteers from across the NHS they regularly travel to Tanzania to deliver training and offer advice on how to help improve healthcare for patients.

To find out more about the trust’s partnership with KCMC, click here.

Media Contact:

Elliot Nichols – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

0191 203 1512 / 07966490736