MONTHLY CHECK-UP: A trio of top consultants are blazing the trail

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Consultants at South Tyneside District Hospital are set to continue to lead the way in their respective fields in 2016.

Steve Williamson, Chief Executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very privileged in South Tyneside to have a fantastic group of consultants who ensure that local patients receive the very best, cutting edge services – many of which are the envy of other Trusts.

“Working with our nurses and allied health professionals, they are focused on delivering the highest standards of care and achieving the best possible outcomes for patents – often in the most innovative ways.”

Here are just three of the consultants who are improving patient care:

Dr Shaz Wahid is South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s new medical director.

Dr Wahid has built a reputation, regionally and nationally, over the last 12 years as a physician, a manager and an educator, with specialist skills in acute medicine, general medicine, diabetes and endocrinology.

After completing Specialist Registrar training in the North East in diabetes and endocrinology, Dr Wahid came to South Tyneside District Hospital in October 2003 as consultant physician with an interest in diabetes and endocrinology.

Having reshaped this specialty into a service acknowledged as one of the best in the region by 2006, Dr Wahid turned his attention to improving the care of local emergency patients. This culminated in the development of a state-of-the-art, integrated Emergency Care Centre at the District Hospital, which opened to patients in November, 2012.

Dr Wahid said: “I am very happy to have been appointed as medical director and humbled by the trust and faith placed in me. I am excited by the Trust’s vision to be a truly national leader by becoming the premier provider of combined hospital, community and well-being care by 2020, with a thriving district general hospital at the centre. I am looking forward to helping to achieve this goal, whilst ensuring we always put the patients we care for and our staff first.”

 Oday Al-Dadah is the youngest consultant orthopaedic surgeon in the country to have been appointed as editor-in-chief of international academic journal, The Knee, leading an international faculty of knee specialists who comprise the editorial board and who critically appraise high quality research submitted for publication from academic centres from all over the world.

This puts him in the privileged position of being aware of research before it is even published, allowing him to provide the very latest in evidence-based clinical practice for his patients.

Mr Al-Dadah’s specialist interest is reconstructive knee surgery. He and his team performed the first meniscus transplant operation in the North East. The surgery, which was done arthroscopically (keyhole), represents the cutting edge of super-specialised reconstructive knee surgery.

Mr Al-Dadah said: “The meniscus functions as a shock absorber in the knee and is the most commonly injured structure. When it is torn it causes pain, which often requires surgical removal.

“In cases where the tear is extensive, almost the entire meniscus is removed which, in turn, can cause further pain and increase the risk of developing arthritis in future. A meniscus transplant can be very beneficial in these complex and difficult to treat cases.

“We are also successfully performing cruciate ligament reconstruction and cartilage repair surgery of the knee for patients with sports injuries who are then able to walk and go home on the same day of their operation.

“For many patients who have debilitating knee arthritis, we are performing partial joint replacement surgery using minimally invasive techniques, which allows them to rehabilitate quicker than conventional, total knee replacements and even to go home within 48 hours of their operation.”

Consultant radiologist Dr Richard Cooper was named NHS Innovator of the Year in the North East NHS Leadership Recognition Awards.

Dr Cooper is head of Health Education North East’s (HENE) School of Radiology, co-ordinating the education and training of junior doctors, ensuring that the future workforce is trained effectively to deliver the highest quality care to patients now and in the future.

He was given the award in recognition of his passion for improving the quality of education and training delivered in the North East so the highest quality candidates are attracted to working in the region for the ultimate benefit of patients.

Dr Cooper said: “I was delighted to receive this award on behalf of the School of Radiology for the innovative work the team has done in partnership with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and with the University of Teesside to build and develop state-of-the-art, high-tech training facilities that will greatly improve the standard of training across the region. This will ultimately translate to a better and safer patient healing experience. I would like to thank my own department and the senior leadership team at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, who support staff undertaking activities that benefit the wider region.”

Dr Cooper recently developed two initiatives to enhance the region’s attractiveness to trainees and also improve the quality of the training delivered.

The Radiology MacLAB is an electronic archive of cases, which provides a unique opportunity for junior doctors and other professions to share learning experiences.

He was also instrumental in introducing Ultrasound Simulation Training, which provides a training environment where many professionals can safely be trained or practise techniques using simulators.