NHS70: Two consultants recognised in national report

PUBLISHED: 11:25 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 05 July 2018

Alex Brightwell, consultant paediatrician (left), and Ed Cheong, a consultant oesophago-gastric cancer and laparoscopic surgeon.Photo: NNUH

Alex Brightwell, consultant paediatrician (left), and Ed Cheong, a consultant oesophago-gastric cancer and laparoscopic surgeon.Photo: NNUH


Two hospital consultants have been named in a national report recognising their significant contribution to patient care.

Ed Cheong and Alex Brightwell, who both work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), feature in the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) “individuals who have made a difference” publication.

As part of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, the CQC brought together stories highlighting individuals who have made a significant impact on the care people receive across acute and mental health NHS trusts, primary care and adult social care.

Mr Cheong is a consultant oesophago-gastric cancer and laparoscopic surgeon and is internationally renowned for minimally invasive oesophageal cancer surgery.

He leads one of the top units in Europe for treating oesophago-gastric cancer, with the lowest length of stays in Europe for Minimally Invasive Oesophagectomy (MIO).

He said: “These techniques are the future of major cancer surgery. They provide enormous benefits for patients including less pain and faster recovery than those associated with major open surgery. Having these services available for the people of Norfolk puts us at the forefront of technology and treatments for these patients.”

Mr Cheong also leads the Blow Your Whistle on Oesophageal Cancer campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer.

He added: “The earlier we pick this cancer up, the easier it is to treat it, and the better the outcome. We can treat the very early cancer by a gastroscope under sedation as a day case procedure, so the patient can avoid chemotherapy and a very big operation. If you have acid reflux/ heartburn symptoms, or difficulty swallowing, please see your doctor early. Don’t just keep taking your antacid medications and please do not ignore these symptoms.”

Consultant paediatrician Alex Brightwell has worked at NNUH since 2015. Within 18 months, she brought together partner agencies to set up a new one-stop-shop for the diagnosis and management of food allergies in young patients.

The multi-disciplinary paediatric-led allergy service was launched in March 2017 at Chet Valley Medical Practice in Loddon, following collaborations between consultants, dietitians, nurses, GPs and managers to deliver the new, high-quality service.

The one-stop-shop has treated more than 700 patients since it opened.

Children who come to see their consultant have their allergy testing carried out by the nurse specialist and if they need dietary advice, they will see the dietitian. Patients also have their eczema management, asthma and inhaler technique reviewed and training on adrenaline auto-injectors.

Dr Brightwell said it had been a real team effort to get the service set up so quickly. She added that the next step was to expand the number of clinics in the region.

She said: “We identified a gap and have delivered a really good service that we can be really proud of. It is so beneficial to have everything under one roof, which reduces the number of appointments. We have had some really nice feedback from parents. Our patients and families are feeling more confident and less anxious as a result.”

Mark Davies, NNUH chief executive, said: “I’d like to congratulate Ed and Alex and their teams for this excellent achievement. I’m very proud to lead an organisation that is always innovating and developing to improve services for our patients.”

To read the CQC publication in full, click here.

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