Lister surgical team gains national recognition for training quality

The Trust’s urology service has been recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons as being a national centre within the NHS for robotic urology surgery training. Based at the Lister hospital in Stevenage, the Hertfordshire Robotics Centre is the first in the country to be given such recognition for the training of future surgeons and as such, is the only NHS service providing a Royal College of Surgeons Urology Training Fellowship in England.

This important news, which was shared with the Trust during November 2012, builds on similar recognition given to the urology team’s training by other national professional bodies, including the special advisory committee (SAC) to the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST – the advisory body to the four Royal Colleges of Surgery in the UK and Ireland). Both the British Association of Urological Surgeons and Royal College of Surgeons are members of SAC.

Commenting on the news, the Trust’s chief executive, Nick Carver, said:
“The Royal College of Surgeons’ decision was very welcome news for one of our flagship services here at the Trust. Based at the Lister now for some time, the urology team has shown the very real benefits that happen when highly specialist clinical expertise is brought together. This has allowed the team to develop the services it can offer patients, including robotic procedures that allow faster recovery time and better quality of life following surgery.

“This accolade from the Royal College of Surgeons is deserved thoroughly and maintains the team’s position as a nationally-recognised service for both quality of care and training.”

One of the team’s consultant urology surgeons, Mr Jim Adshead said:
“Getting the backing of the Royal College of Surgeons for our urological fellowship robotic surgery training programme – which makes us the first service in the country to do so – is a real tribute to the dedication and hard work of all the team’s members. It endorses not just the quality of care provided to our patients, but also that of the training programme for our up and coming surgeons. We are all delighted at the news.”

Urology is one of the most varied branches of surgery, encompassing diseases of the kidney, bladder and prostate, including conditions such as incontinence, impotence, infertility, cancer and reconstruction of the genito-urinary tract. It encompasses patients of both sexes and all ages, from newborn infants to much older people.

Over the last 20 years, urology has become one of the most innovative surgical specialties. Urologists use traditional surgical methods but have also pioneered the most modern high-tech, fibre optic and endoscopic techniques (sometimes called minimally-invasive surgery). It was one of the first surgical specialties to use keyhole surgery, and still retains the most comprehensive array of minimally-invasive techniques for patients.

GP referrals for urological problems have increased nationally by 20% over the last 20 years. However, the number of patients who need to undergo urological surgery for their condition has fallen to 10-12% (between 1-in-8 and 1-in-10). For those referred to see a urologist, therefore, it is not inevitable that they will need an operation.