April 1st saw the 20th anniversary of the InHealth Cardiac Cath lab service at St Peter’s Hospital in Surrey which was duly celebrated by staff and patients. Congratulations to all the team past and current who have helped to bring this service from a ground-breaking first joint partnership Cardiac Cath Lab service providing coronary angioplasty and simple pacing procedures, to the expansive facility we have today – an all-inclusive, purpose built catheterisation suite encompassing a 10 bedded day ward, two fully equipped cath labs with direct 24/7 ambulance access for heart attack patients. Over the 20 years, advances in procedure techniques and equipment have enabled the unit to undertake a full range of procedures including complex device implantation, treatment for cardiac rhythm disorders using ablation and cryotherapy (freezing) catheters, and treatment for chronic coronary artery occlusion. In addition, the unit has managed the full patient pathway from referral and waiting list through to pre-assessment and caring for the patient on the day of their procedure. Jackie Churchman, Clinical Lead, Interventional Cardiology, was there at the very beginning of the service from the planning stages right through to implementation, working alongside Dr David Fluck, Medical Director and Executive Lead for R&D Ashford & St Peter’s Foundation Trust, and Dr Peter Wilkinson, Cardiologist, Ashford & St Peter’s Foundation Trust (whose vision it was with Professor Michael Joy OBE, then Cardiologist at St Peter’s Hospital, to bring interventional cardiology to the local community).
Dr Fluck refers to Jackie’s appointment as “brilliant” and said: “I remember being interviewed on one of the local radio stations about the development – I was excited and proud of what we had achieved but the questioning centred around the involvement of a private company in NHS activity – fortunately the music has changed and now everyone recognises that we need to collaborate and use the skills that people and companies have, to deliver great care to our communities. The relationship has now been over 20 years and what has been so fantastic is that the angiography suite staff and the cardiac ward and department have always operated as one team. Over the years we have grown and developed the service and made sure that the infrastructure is modern and efficient to enable the staff to deliver great care. It has been a pleasure to work together for the last 20 years and I am sure that the collaboration and care will continue for more than 20 years to come.”