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Endoscopy team shortlisted for prestigious national Health Service Journal Awards.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented huge challenges for the Endoscopy team at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) but also provided an important opportunity to improve its services. By thinking differently, adapting to a changing environment and using cutting edge technology, the Endoscopy team at MTW has transformed the way it cares for its patients.

This success has been recognised in this year’s prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards, which attracted over a thousand entries from across the country. The Trust has been shortlisted in the new category of Performance Recovery Award.

Endoscopy teams at MTW provide services for patients seven days a week, carrying out on average 1300 procedures every month. Endoscopy is a test to look inside the body, using a small camera, often at the end of a long tube. The camera is passed into the body through an opening such as the mouth.

In August 2020 the Trust had nearly 3000 patients waiting for an endoscopy procedure. This has been reduced to zero, which is an incredible achievement against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At MTW a combination of standard endoscopy and capsule endoscopy are used to support patient diagnosis, all of which play a key role in the Trust’s cancer screening services. Working in partnership with teams across the Trust, the Endoscopy team was able to increase capacity, improve performance and introduce new ways of delivering outstanding care. Regular meetings with other trusts in the region and the Kent & Medway Cancer Alliance also allow the team to share their expertise with other departments, so patients at other healthcare organisations can benefit.

MTW is the only trust in Kent and Medway taking part in a pilot programme where patients swallow a tiny camera known as a Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE), to check for signs of cancer. The colon capsule reduces the time a patient needs to spend in hospital and provides a diagnosis within hours, ensuring that patients get the checks they need and are fast tracked for treatment if signs of cancer are detected.

MTW has also recently been confirmed as the Endoscopy Training Hub for Kent and Medway, part of the South East Academy. The Trust has also been awarded JAG training provider accreditation status and is now one of the national centres commissioned to improve endoscopy training in England.

Dr Adrian Barnardo, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Clinical Lead for Endoscopy, said: “Our staff always go above and beyond to deliver outstanding care and the HSJ Awards programme allows us to share our success as well as everything we’ve learned from our work.

“It is true to say the Endoscopy team not only survived, but thrived during the pandemic, seizing the opportunity to transform our services and embrace technology to deliver outstanding care.

“Thanks to the innovation and ingenuity of the Endoscopy team, MTW has no backlog of endoscopy patients and has maintained the 62-day cancer standard for 35 consecutive months (including throughout the pandemic). These achievements are testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of the staff working in endoscopy.”

Chief Executive, Miles Scott said: ‘Our entry to this year’s HSJ Awards was one of over 1000 nominations submitted so we are incredibly proud of our Endoscopy team for being shortlisted. This recognition reflects the amazing dedication and effort of the team in transforming the way they work, introducing new ways of delivering outstanding care.’

The winners will be announced during the awards ceremony in London on 17 November.