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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust announced as new endoscopy training hub for Kent and Medway

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) has 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.

As part of the service expansion, Maidstone Hospital has taken delivery of a state-of-the-art virtual reality simulator to help trainee clinical endoscopists in an immersive virtual environment. Virtual reality simulation plays a key role in endoscopic training, with benefits including the improvement of patient safety and optimisation of valuable endoscopy time.

MTW is one of the most successful Trusts in country for training clinical endoscopists. In recent years the Trust has trained 9 clinical endoscopists, 8 of whom are still working at MTW. This has enabled the Trust to achieve the delivery of timely, high-quality endoscopy services for patients, expand the Trust’s bowel cancer screening colonoscopy lists and retain JAG accreditation across both sites.

Dr Adrian Barnardo, Consultant Gastroenterologist & Clinical Lead for Endoscopy, Clinical Lead for Kent & Medway Endoscopy Training Hub and Chair of Endoscopy Workforce Group for Kent & Medway commented: “I am delighted that the Trust has been chosen as the endoscopy training hub for Kent and Medway. This will enable us to increase the number of clinical endoscopists working across the whole of Kent and Medway and across the entire Integrated Care System.

“This achievement is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of the staff working in endoscopy. The expanded capacity will enable us to improve care for patients across the county through the reduction in waiting times for those requiring endoscopic procedures.”

MTW has a team of 54 staff working across both sites at the Trust providing endoscopy services for patients seven days a week, carrying out on average 1300 procedures every month. In August 2020 the Trust had some 2000 patients waiting for an endoscopy procedure. Currently the Trust has no  patients waiting for treatment, which is an incredible feat against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At MTW a combination of standard endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, CT virtual colonoscopy and standard CT examinations are utilised to support patient diagnosis,  all of which play a key role in the Trust’s cancer screening services.

MTW is the only organisation across Kent and Medway taking part in the pilot programme where patients swallow a tiny camera, known as a  capsule endoscopy, to check for signs of cancer, providing a diagnosis within hours. In the last six months the Trust has performed 147 colon capsule endoscopies, resulting in almost 100 patients being removed from the cancer pathway.

*JAG accreditation is awarded to high-quality gastrointestinal endoscopy services and promotes improvement by highlighting areas of best practice, areas for change and encouraging the continued development of the clinical service.  The scheme is regarded as one of the most innovative and effective in the healthcare sector and has been used as a model for other similar schemes in the UK and overseas. It has four assessment areas: clinical quality, patient experience, workforce and training. Accredited services are required to submit evidence annually to demonstrate that they are continuing to meet the standards and have a five-yearly on-site assessment.