Olympus has unveiled its latest ENDOALPHA Integrated Theatre at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – the first in the UK to include near infrared imaging technology.
The £1million theatre install is particularly close to the hearts of the Olympus team, as the hospital is just a few miles from the company’s UK offices in Stock Road, Southend.
Complete with the latest imaging technology and surgical energy equipment, the state-of-the-art ‘Colin George Laparoscopic Theatre’ was also welcomed by members of the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation who raised £500,000 for purchase of the theatre’s new equipment through the ‘Keyhole Cancer Appeal’.
Launched in 2014 by Colin George, the theatre has been officially named after the former trustee who sadly passed away aged 77 in 2015. Director of medical and surgical business at Olympus, Gareth Walsh, also helped raise funds for the appeal by taking part in a 100-mile bike ride.
The hospital invested in the new surgical platform, VISERA ELITE II, a compact all-in-one system, reducing the number of devices required in the theatre which can be used for 2D and 3D HD imaging. It also offers different observation possibilities including near infrared (NIR) imaging – the first integrated theatre in the UK to have this facility – and Narrow Band Imaging (NBI). Both NIR and NBI can help to improve patient outcome during diagnostics or surgery.
Senior product manager for systems integration at Olympus, David Gillett, said: “By installing a new theatre with the latest technology, the hospital is able to offer the very best environment for their clinical team, providing significant benefits such as improved theatre efficiency and patient outcome.”
Senior members of the Olympus team joined staff, trustees and fundraisers from Southend University Hospital for a tour of the new theatre and project overview. The theatre was formally opened by Mr George’s widow Pamela, and their children Stephen and Christine, who also unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event.
Mr Mike Dworkin, consultant surgeon at Southend University Hospital Trust, said: “So far we have used the theatre for cancer, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s, diverticular operations and radical prostate surgery.
“Many of these patients would have previously had to have ‘open’ surgery which would have meant longer hospital stays and recovery times, and greater post-operative pain and scarring.
“The great news for patients is we have now got faster set up times for surgery and quicker change over between cases and have the equipment to carry out on table colonoscopy, which will make cancer surgery more accurate.
“We can now bring digital x-rays and body scans to the screens and record operations for education purposes, dramatically enhancing the teaching process for training our own staff or using the two-way video conferencing to beam operations and training to hospitals or conferences across the world. All of which will continue to grow and enhance the reputation of Southend Hospital and its staff, not just nationally but internationally.”