Date of release: 6 January 2021
Welcome to the first blog of 2021 and a happy new year!
The latest news from the Government, which once again sees the country in a national lockdown, means the start to the new year is a challenging one for us all.
But I hope you are healthy and that you all got to spend some enjoyable time together with your families over Christmas, albeit probably not as much as you would normally do.
I wanted to start 2021 with some positive news and I am proud to inform you that the endoscopy team at RWT, in conjunction with Birmingham City University (BCU), has been awarded the National Clinical Endoscopist Training Programme by Health Education England (HEE) following a competitive process.
We are therefore central to delivering the national endoscopy training programme which is aimed at attracting and teaching the next generation of non-medical (clinical) endoscopists to support the ever expanding requirements for endoscopy through the country.
As a department, we have around 25 to 30 endoscopists (both medical and non-medical) and about 70 nursing staff.
The unit undertakes in the region of 20,000 procedures each year. That figure is likely to double because of national plans to expand the bowel cancer screening programme in England to cover a larger proportion of the population.
The Trust has been the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) approved regional endoscopy centre for the West Midlands since 2003, running over 25 hands-on endoscopy training courses every year.
This award will require us to double the number of courses we run each year and also puts RWT in a strong position to develop as an endoscopy training academy in the future.
The collaborative bid is an excellent example of how strong, stakeholder partnerships can bring hugely positive developments.
Professor Louise Toner, a Non-Executive Director at RWT also has a role in healthcare education at Birmingham City University (BCU) as the associate Dean within The Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.
We were therefore able to develop a joint tender between the endoscopy team at RWT and BCU and we were successful in being awarded the programme utilising the complementary strengths of both organisations.
Dr Aravinth Murugananthan, Consultant Gastroenterologist, and Sharon Powell, Endoscopy Nurse Practitioner (ENP), represented RWT along with Professor Toner from BCU as the leads who secured the successful bid.
They are joined by Dr Ashit Shah and ENPs Nicola Henderson and Suzanne Kelly and they will all have appointments at BCU and dedicated time to deliver the programme of teaching.
The first cohort is due to start this month. Interviews are currently being carried out with the intention of recruiting 40 clinical endoscopists to our first cohort.
The course is delivered through a blended learning approach with online teaching delivered by our team, as well as face to face sessions held at BCU’s simulation wards and clinical endoscopy training courses delivered at our Cannock Endoscopy Unit.
Speaking to staff involved in the project, they say they are very proud and excited to have been selected as one of two sites nationally to deliver the programme, which continues to place us at the forefront of endoscopy training nationally.
They are also proud to be involved in teaching and training the clinical endoscopists of the future.
This exciting development will provide many opportunities to those interested in exploring endoscopy nursing or those who might aspire to become a clinical endoscopist.