Recognition for KGH cardiac team

KGH's Cardiac Investigations Team. From left, Alan Roberts, Charlotte Cicceri, Sara Maia, Dr Adrian Cheng, Catarina Lopes, Sarah Baines, Will Simner, Diogo Martins and Sean Thuis
KGH's Cardiac Investigations Team. From left, Alan Roberts, Charlotte Cicceri, Sara Maia, Dr Adrian Cheng, Catarina Lopes, Sarah Baines, Will Simner, Diogo Martins and Sean Thuis

Investment in training, recruitment and new equipment for Kettering General Hospital’s cardiac investigations department has paid off, with the news it has earned a departmental accreditation.

The hospital’s cardiac investigations department has received national recognition for its high standards in heart ultrasound scanning after it was inspected by the British Society of Echocardiography, an affiliate of the British Cardiovascular Society. 

As a result of the inspection in September, the trust has been told that it has been awarded departmental accreditation for its transthoracic echocardiography service.

The service – which sees more than 8,000 patients each year – uses specialised ultrasound machines to scan the heart, diagnosing heart failure and valve problems, among other diseases.

Principal cardiac physiologist Sean Thuis, who manages the cardiac investigations department, said: “This accolade is not given lightly, and indeed KGH is one of only 38 hospitals in the country that has achieved this. 

“Some specialist heart centres such as Papworth Hospital, Leicester’s Glenfield, the John Radcliffe, Oxford, and University Hospitals, Coventry, have not yet attained this standard for their ultrasound services.

“For us it is a culmination of two years of work, which has included equipment modernisation, educating staff, and developing high safety and quality standards.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this very significant achievement, but particularly KGH’s team of ultrasound specialist cardiac physiologists who have worked so hard to make this possible.”

To attain the accreditation the trust invested £300,000 in three state-of-the-art ultrasound scanners that can show the heart in three dimensions, as well as recruiting three additional cardiac physiologists from Portugal to boost the hospital’s 16-strong cardiac investigations team.

It also successfully applied for £6,000 of training funds per year from the British Heart Foundation for six of its ultrasound specialist cardiac physiologists, to ensure their continued education.

Mr Thuis added: “This means patients who come to KGH for echocardiograms will be scanned using some of the most advanced technology available today by very highly trained staff who are passionate about the service they provide and their own development.

“Our department is also at the forefront of developing cardiac physiologist-led diagnostic procedures, reducing the need for specialist doctors to attend these types of tests.”