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Major donation supports non-surgical care

New equipment for endoscopyA generous donation from a grateful former Poole Hospital patient is supporting others undergoing endoscopic treatment for a range of gastro-intestinal conditions.

Dr Alistair Somerville-Ford attended the hospital’s endoscopy department last year as part of the National Bowel Screening programme. The programme screens for possible hidden blood in the poo which could signify the presence of bowel cancer or polyps (abnormal growths). Its aim is to diagnose early stage bowel cancer or polyps that may become cancerous.

In conversation with staff in the unit, Dr Somerville-Ford learned that an argon plasma coagulation (APC) unit, which uses an arc of argon gas to carry heat to the polyp, would enhance and improve the options for those patients requiring polyp removal at the time of their investigation.

More than a third of patients undergoing a screening colonoscopy will have polyps.

Dr Somerville-Ford is Chairman of the Ringwood based Institute of Commercial Management, a leading Awarding and Examining board for business and management students. He offered to fund the £25,000 kit in its entirety.

Dr Sally Parry, lead consultant in the unit and director of the Dorset bowel cancer screening programme, explains the benefits of APC.

“This kit has improved the way in which we can treat people with colonic polyps in our unit by directly heating to the edges of polyps that may previously have been incompletely removed and so avoiding repeat procedures and in some cases, the need for surgery,” she said.

“It is a very thoughtful and practical donation and we are indebted to Dr Somerville-Ford and to ICM for their generosity.”

Dr Somerville-Ford said: “When I came to Poole Hospital under the screening programme it became clear that this piece of equipment would be a real asset here. ICM is delighted to have been able to help, and through this donation it is great to hear we’re making a tangible difference for patients attending the unit.”

Senior endoscopy sister Sylvia Lowrey said Dr Somerville-Ford’s gift would bring lasting benefit to patients.

“It is a brilliant donation and will benefit so many patients now and in the years ahead. We value all contributions, large or small – they all go towards supporting the service we provide”

Dr Somerville-Ford returned to the department last month to inspect the new equipment and find out from delighted staff their experiences of using it.

ICM had previously funded a carbon dioxide insufflation system for the endoscopy unit, increasing patient comfort during procedures.

Date: 10 August 2012

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