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This unit is an innovative development in ELHT. The trust has always been involved in clinical research and education. The research activities range from: 

  • Case histories
  • Longitudinal observational studies
  • Multi-centre cohort studies.

Individuals in many of the sub-specialities have made a mark nationally and internationally in education, clinical research and in contributing to specialist textbooks. In recent years the ELHT Research and Development unit has been highly successful in linking, advising and driving research within the trust. The trust is currently involved in high profile national audits, research and multi-centre research projects across many specialities and sub-specialities.

This unit is the next stage in the development of an integrated approach to research, course development and the establishment of formal Academic Clinical Fellows. The development of national and regional training courses will be a key aspiration for the future. There will be a parallel development of increasing links with our university partners in our journey from teaching hospital to university hospital status. This academic unit should bring the benefits of improved health care through motivated, enthusiastic clinicians working within multidisciplinary teams at the forefront of medical/surgical innovation.  This will cement our status as one of the key NHS hospital trusts in the North West of England. 

Professor Robin W Paton

Director of the Academic Surgical and Perioperative Medicine Unit

Key Objectives

·         Encourage and improve research

·         Develop and promote speciality courses for surgical specialities in the UK

·         Develop and promote training courses for the overseas market

·         Develop Academic Clinical Fellow posts

Surgical sub-specialities

·         Hepato-Biliary Surgery

·         Maxillo-facial Surgery

·         Urology (including robotic surgery - Da Vinci technique)

·         Vascular Surgery

·         Upper and Lower Gastro-intenstinal surgery

·         Opthalmology and ENT surgery

·         Trauma and Orthopaedic surgery

·         Paediatric Surgery (orthopaedics, general surgery, urology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Maxillo-facial)

·         Breast cancer Surgery

·         Dermatology

Anaesthetic sub-specialities

·         Intensive Care Unit

·         Post-operative Care Unit

·         High Dependency Unit

·         Enhanced recovery

·         Pre-operative assessment / Cardiopulmonary exercise testing

The Accident and Emergency department is the busiest in the North West of England. The Trust serves a population of 530,000. Many of the areas covered by the Trust suffer from significant deprivation, with some areas amongst the most disadvantaged in England.  Many of the conditions treated in East Lancashire are a result of this multiple deprivation: trauma, osteoporotic fractures, metabolic disease, degenerative diseases, genetic diseases, multiple co-morbidies, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and prematurity.  In addition, East Lancashire has a very young population with 25% of the population in Blackburn aged under 16 years of age. This is the second highest in England with most areas having less than 20% of the population under 16 years of age.

ELHT has a wide number of regional and sub regional surgical and anaesthetic units.  Many of the sub-specialities have national or regional leaders in their fields of expertise. There is extensive experience in the areas of research and education.  Many of the consultants and members of their teams have been awarded Doctorates or Masters post graduate degrees in research or education. ELHT has 274 publications listed on the Researchgate site with significant research collaborations with the Universities of Manchester and Central Lancashire.

The specialities and sub-specialities are supported by a full range of medical and diagnostic/imaging specialities:
  • Radiology:  ‘state of the art’ diagnostics
  • Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • Rehabiliation (Physiotherapy, occupational therapy etc.)
  • Peri-operative staff (ANPs, SCP, ODPs, plaster technicians etc.)
There are established and strong links to academic institutions: 
  • University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)
  • University of Lancaster
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Salford
  • American University of the Caribbean
  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Health Education Northwest
  • Public Health England. 

These include: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor  and Professor posts (Honorary and Visiting) linked with these institutions. A 10 year stategic alliance has recently been signed by ELHT and UCLAN. This partnership and co-operation has been successful in developing the new medical school and in delivering MSc courses in musculo-skeletal medicine. Surgical and anaesthetic specialities have clinical tutor and educational/ academic links with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Three university medical schools send national and international medical students the the Trust for their clinical training (University of Central Lancashire, University of Lancaster and the American University of the Caribbean).

National and international exit and membership examinations (Surgery and Anaesthetics) organised by the Royal Colleges of Surgeons or Anaesthetists are actively supported by the trust:

Many of the consultants are experienced national and university examiners (under-graduate and post-graduate).

Several national examinations have been hosted or undertaken at the Royal Blackburn Teaching  Hospital [MRCS, FRCS].

There is a modern, well equiped ‘Learning Centre’ and library to support the educational process.  There is an established Research and Development department with strong links to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Royal Colleges and regional research and audit units. This is an exciting time for surgical and anaesthetic clinical care. Future developments and continuing research are being led by the Director of the Surgery and Anaesthetics department, Mr Shahid Islam.

Anticipated future developments

  • Further development of robotic surgery across surgical specialities (in 2015 ELHT were the first trust in the North West to purchase the first Da Vinci surgical system for urological surgery.)
  • Expected developments in artificial intellegence (AI) and further development of intra-operative and pre-operative imaging including AI (MRI, CT, 3-D Ultrasound, image intensifiers)
  • Development and education of the evolving surgical team: ANPs, ODPs, SFA, SCP, Physician assistants
  • IT developments: PACS, electronic medical records, electronic pharmacy and patient investigations such as blood, radiological, cardiological etc.
  • Simulation techniques in surgical and anaesthetic training
  • Genetic screening
  • Tele-surgery: teaching or directing surgery remotely possibly with robotic surgical techniques
  • Anaesthetic developments: ICU and local/regional anaesthesia