Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are celebrating the organisation’s impact on UK and global healthcare to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.
Over the past decade alone, clinicians across University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust have been at the forefront of a number of major medical and scientific breakthroughs.
They have also had widespread national influence and prominence, heading up medical bodies and charities including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the Alcohol Health Alliance UK – with midwives at the Princess Anne Hospital even laying claim to delivering Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message.
Staff have also been involved with developments as diverse as changing national health policy and the way children’s medical research is carried out, to pioneering the advent of fixed camera filming in hospitals through Channel 4’s BAFTA award-winning maternity documentary series One Born Every Minute.
Professor Peter Johnson, a consultant medical oncologist, has been at the helm of Cancer Research UK since 2008 as its chief clinician and has led a number of significant worldwide lymphoma trials, while Dr John Heyworth served as president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine from 2008 until 2011 and liver specialist Dr Nick Sheron co-founded the Alcohol Health Alliance in 2007.
Dr Huon Gray, a consultant cardiologist, is national clinical director for heart disease for NHS England, while colleague Dr Iain Simpson served as president of the British Cardiovascular Society.
In 2010, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Professor Nicholas Clarke’s research into the resurgence of Victorian bone disease rickets led to the government’s chief medical officer recommending vitamin D supplements for all children under five, as well as the introduction of vitamin D in all Kellogg’s children’s cereals which he advised on.
The same year saw the first series of One Born Every Minute, filmed at the Princess Anne Hospital using 40 fixed cameras with eight one-hour episodes which gave viewers a glimpse of life on the wards from all angles, with footage taken from the reception desk to the neonatal ward and from the operating theatre to the birthing pool.
Integrated with an extensive online initiative, it saw more than 3.5 million people tune in and led to Channel 4 returning to Southampton to film a festive special broadcast – One Born at Christmas – which incorporated a Christmas message delivered by the midwifery team and a second series, which was also nominated for a BAFTA.
In recent years, teams have been at the centre of pioneering developments and procedures including the world’s smallest pacemaker, an IVF treatment which allows fertilisation to take place inside the body, the UK's first isolation treatment for liver cancer and a 'headphone' device to detect brain injuries.
Surgeons in Southampton also performed the first hip surgery with a 3D printed implant and bone stem cell graft, brain surgery through the nose, the first stem cell brain injection in a stroke patient, a type 2 diabetes implant procedure for children and created 'new' knee cartilage using stem cells from the hip and surgical glue.
Doctors in the city were also behind the discovery that a child's risk of developing an allergic disease is doubled if a parent of the same sex has suffered from it, while ophthalmologist Professor Andrew Lotery, among many research breakthroughs, saved the sight of two patients through a groundbreaking use of the cancer drug Avastin.
In 2012, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health called for NHS trusts and universities to follow the city’s example of combining adult and paediatric researchers together to determine the early origins of disease.
Following the work of Professor David Barker in the 1980s, which found the link between birth weight and lifetime risk for coronary heart disease, researchers at UHS and the University of Southampton established chronic diseases in adults, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, may be prevented by early interventions in nutrition, diet and lifestyle of pregnant mothers, infants and children.
“It is quite astonishing to look back over even just a short period of our recent history and see some of the magnificent developments our staff have been involved with and overseen and their influence on national and international platforms,” said Dr Derek Sandeman, medical director at UHS.
“That is why milestones like 70th birthday of the NHS are a fantastic opportunity to reflect on what has happened and is happening here in our city and take a moment to be proud of the part we have played in the institution’s rich history.”
The NHS celebrates its 70th birthday on 5 July, with the year also marking 70 years since the Borough Hospital – as it was known in 1948 – became Southampton General Hospital. Visit our website to find out more about the trust’s NHS70 activities and to read Dr Sandeman’s NHS70 blog.
Posted on Friday 22 June 2018