The new West London Vascular and Interventional Centre at Northwick Park Hospital (Harrow, UK) has officially been declared open. As of the 25th June, 2019, patients who require vascular treatment will be able to benefit from the modern facilities and integrated approach, undergoing treatment in one location.
With both vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists working together under one roof, the hope is that patients will receive seamless and efficient care for a range of complex conditions, including specialist venous and aneurysm clinics, varicose veins care, diabetic foot care and minor treatments. The centre has been funded primarily by the London North West Healthcare Charity, which gave its largest single donation to date, at £1.5 million.
At the grand opening, Simon Crawford, deputy chief executive, London North West University Healthcare, said, “The reason we are here, by no means, is down to professor Martin Malina for championing the importance of vascular surgery, and who has been a great advocate for the speciality.” He adds, “The new vascular and interventional centre will allow us to serve our patients locally and stop them being referred out. It also helps repatriate some patients, keeping them closer to home.”
“The work undertaken here underlines the importance of patient care, as it brings all cohort teams together in a more modern, fit-for-purpose environment,” concludes Crawford.
Touching on why the Trust’s charity gave their single, largest donation, Vineta Bhalla, chair of the Charitable Funds Management Committee, said, “This new innovative vascular unit will help improve patient experience, providing an innovative one-stop-shop for care, treatment and recovery. We are not a big charity, but we are grateful we can support projects such as these.”
The importance of modernised approaches to patient care was further emphasised by Martin Malina, clinical director of the vascular unit. “The important message is that with new evolving techniques and vascular centres comprised of high tech minimally invasive procedures, patients can be discharged the next day. We need centralisation, including the integration of vascular surgery and interventional radiology into a single unit to improve patient safety and welfare.”
Highlighting the importance of the geography of the department, he said, “This is a very clever choice of location in order for it to become an efficient integrated unit.” He adds, “The unit is comprised of a blood flow lab, an imaging facility, a clinical and recovery centre, a angio-suite, as well as an educational centre.” In terms of the venous centre, Malina estimated that 1,300 patients are to be treated here per year. He said that while the line service offers access to the blood vessels, the blood flow lab will process around 6,000 patients per year.
Before handing over to Henrik Sillesen, president of the European Vascular Society, Malina ultimately concluded, “We need to come together, not just as surgeons or radiologists; we need to get truly integrated, and learn from the angiologists. In the future, we need vascular specialists [in order] to offer the best treatment, by moving away from the previous model to an integrated, modern approach.”
Alluding to his own experiences in the vascular field, Sillesen put forward the benefits of a large department. He acknowledged that it promotes leadership, in terms of personnel, wards, outpatient clinics and so forth. Moreover, he said that it leads to more opportunities for specialisation within the department, and less on-call frequency—which is important, he said, given the rising issue of physician burnout currently plaguing Europe. Lastly, Sillesen said that with a large department comes more opportunities for research, while it is easier to attract good commercial and public funding.
Speaking to Vascular News, Lorenzo Patrone, consultant interventional radiologist, reiterates the unique qualities of the new West London Vascular and Interventional Centre, “Of course, we have high-volume centres providing high quality care, but the team is key. Both specialities are under the same roof and part of the same unit. This gives the interventional radiologists the possibilities to follow their patients clinically, while the vascular surgeons can improve their endovascular skills. It is the only one in Europe that properly merges each speciality, with a hybrid team working together to provide efficient care.”