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Celebrating success in cardiothoracic surgery

I was very privileged to receive a presentation from the department of cardiothoracic surgery this week and felt compelled to share some of the exceptional work that they are doing in terms of clinical care, but also in terms of their dedication to research, training and education.

The department performs around 1000 cases of cardiac surgery each year and around 900 cases of thoracic surgery. This is among the largest caseloads in the UK and the team is achieving among the lowest mortality rates in the country.

This clearly shows that specialist services caring for more patients and using close follow-up care achieve better clinical outcomes. In essence, the more you practice something the better you become at it, and cardiothoracic surgery at St George’s is a very pure example of this in action.

I was particularly impressed by their commitment to research and education, training the country’s best surgeons and advancing our understanding of heart and other chest conditions.

The national training programme director in London, chair of the specialist training committee for cardiothoracic surgery at the London Deanery, and chair of the intercollegiate specialty board – important and prestigious posts – are all surgeons based at St George’s Hospital.

Training for cardiothoracic surgery is competitive and only around 20 candidates get chosen nationally each year. For the past four years the top three or four candidates each year have come from St George’s – another demonstration of the team’s dedication to high quality service provision.

At both the European and UK cardiothoracic surgery annual meetings this year the team from St George’s presented more scientific abstracts than any other UK provider, consolidating their profile as a major hub for specialist research. They are also involved in some major research projects of national and international significance.

The work of the cardiothoracic department is, in my opinion (and supported by numerous reports, publications and patient feedback), outstanding and is a fine example of where colleagues are focusing on integrating the three areas of clinical services, education and research – a core objective for the trust which I believe will deliver significant health benefits to patients in the future.

But this is actually a demonstration of what I see happening in many areas of the organisation. These achievements are mirrored in many other departments where people are developing their staff through comprehensive training, researching better ways to tackle health conditions and then applying this learning to their environment to improve their healthcare provision.

I have attached the original presentation from the department, for those who are interested in the nuts and bolts of their work, and I hope this blog entry reassures all readers that St George’s is dedicated to excellence in terms of patient care, but also education and research.

To read the department of cardiothoracic surgery’s presentation, please click here.


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