Charity-supported projects recognised at 2018 British Medical Journal Awards

17 May 2018

Congratulations to the Cardiac Imaging and Haemato-Oncology teams at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Both of them were recognised at last week’s BMJ awards for their projects which have used our funding.

Winner of ‘Best Diagnostic Team of the Year’: MRI for pacemaker patients

Cardiology Registrar Anish Bhuva and the team at the Barts Heart Centre (pictured above left) won an award for their service which provides magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for patients who have cardiac devices such as pacemakers.

MRI scans use magnetic waves to produce detailed images of the body. It is a painless, safe and important test to diagnose brain and spinal diseases, joint problems, and cancer.
The majority of patients with pacemakers and heart defibrillators will need an MRI in their lifetime, but older devices were not designed to undergo MRI scanning. This meant doctors had to find alternatives which were more invasive or not as useful.

Currently in the UK, 1000 MRI scans are performed in patients with cardiac devices each year, but it is estimated that 50,000 need to be performed annually to meet clinical need. However, because it was not possible for many years, referrers remain unaware and scanning centres lack the correct training.

The team at Barts Heart Centre set up a ‘one stop’ service to provide MRI services for pacemaker patients using two MRI scanners that the charity funded when Barts Heart Centre opened. By creating a streamlined service model, they were able to grow their service six-fold whilst reducing waiting times. This helped to discharge patients early from hospital and they found patients were being referred from across the country to make important diagnoses such as stroke, cancer and spinal cord compression.

Dr Bhuva says: "This is a great recognition for the efforts and vision our team have shown to make this possible, but it is also needed for pacemaker patients who are denied standard NHS care without access to MRI. It is a huge boost to our national campaign that is working to increase MRI provision by raising awareness, developing services, and changing policy."

The video below shows Peter, who was diagnosed with cancer at Barts but because of his pacemaker - which had been implanted at another hospital - struggled to get an MRI. Thanks to the service at St Bartholomew's Hospital, he was able to undergo multiple scans which were needed for his treatment with surgery and radiotherapy.

The goal of the national campaign is to ensure pacemaker patients have the same access to MRI as the rest of us. More information including patient information and clinical resources can be found at www.mrimypacemaker.com.

 

Shortlisted finalists for ‘Cancer Care Team of the Year’: Barts Health Cancer Care@Home

Dr Samir Agrawal, Consultant Haemato-oncologist at the trust, used our charity funding for a pilot scheme to improve the experience for patients with cancer.

Patients with non-aggressive blood cancers and who are clinically well may come to regular hospital appointments (once or twice a year). After finding that 82% of patients would consider remote care, the lymphoma group (pictured above right with our Grants Adviser Edel) developed a remote patient monitoring system that allows patients to receive specialist cancer care in their homes, while giving them online access to their letters and results. Consultations are conducted by phone or are video-assisted, with blood tests and questionnaires completed in advance. This pilot scheme is now being extended more widely in the department.

Patients monitored remotely reported that they save on travel time and costs, take less time off work, they can schedule times that suit them and there are no waiting times for appointments.

Dr Agrawal says: “Patients require ongoing follow-up of their disease and for complications of treatment. The patient survey shows how much they value ongoing specialist care and if this can be delivered in the community, it is even better! The system is flexible, with patients coming to clinic as required and returning to remote monitoring if appropriate.”

“Remote care can help with the workload challenges in the NHS. Much of the work should be clinical nurse specialist-led, freeing up consultant time for new and complex patients.”

“The hospital model of regular visits for well patients in follow-up needs review. Open access when patients are concerned or notice a change in their wellbeing, combined with remote specialist monitoring, can benefit patients and the NHS.”

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