News in Brief

News in Brief: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals uses Gamma Knife technology, Dorset Healthcare University launches digital mental health campaign and more

It’s time for another news in brief. As always there has been plenty happening in the health tech community – join us as we take a look at some of the digital stories from across the NHS over the past days.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals uses new Gamma Knife technology

Patients at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are to receive treatment on the latest version of Gamma Knife, a machine used to treat brain tumours and other conditions in the brain.

Following the installation of the Elekta Esprit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, last week saw the first delivery of treatment.

The Gamma Knife technology uses “a focused array of intersecting beams of carefully measured gamma radiation to target lesions in the brain with sub-millimetre precision,” the trust state, “meaning that there is less risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and thus fewer side effects for patients.”

Julian Cahill, consultant neurosurgeon and clinical lead for the national centre for stereotactic radiosurgery, said: “We are proud to be leading the way with the latest Gamma Knife technology which we are confident will enable a greater range of patients to receive treatment here in Sheffield.”

Dorset Healthcare University launches digital mental health support for young people

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust has carried out a recent survey that found over 40 percent of young people within Dorset do not know, or are unsure how to access mental health advice.

To tackle this, a campaign called ‘RUOK?’ has been launched by Dorset’s Suicide Prevention Group, using social media and other digital channels to highlight how young people can access mental health support in different ways. The signposted services are available through text, phone, online or in person.

The campaign will also direct young people to the new Dorset Youth Knowledge Hub, where information on mental health and wellbeing support is searchable by area and age.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals use new robotic colonoscopy machine

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is using a robotic colonoscopy machine for patients who can’t have conventional colonoscopies. 

The trust describes robotic colonoscopy as a “non-invasive procedure which uses disposable probes to examine the colon.” Noting that tradition colonoscopy can be be a painful experience often requiring sedation, by contrast the robotic machine “offers a painless and safer experience. There is no need for sedation which means patients can recover almost immediately.”

Chief executive Matthew Trainer said: “This is a ground breaking development that has the potential to transform endoscopy services across the country. It’s yet another example of the innovative work we’re doing at our surgical hub where we have a relentless focus on reducing waiting times for patients.”

Barts Health NHS Trust tests new device to help diagnose heart disease 

Barts Health NHS Trust has collaborated with Queen Mary University of London and University College London to carry out the initial tests of a new device which aims to “diagnose heart disease more easily and accurately”.

The device, iKOr, uses a fibre optic sensor and a narrow catheter to examine a patient’s blood pressure, identify thinning arteries and potentially identify problems with small heart vessels. It has been developed through collaboration between the trust, universities and Echopoint.

Professor Anthony Mathur, lead researcher for this work, said: “I am pleased to say that we have successfully used this technology in patients for the first time. This new device is a game changer in how we manage heart disease, making it a lot easier to assess the health of a person’s heart. I look forward to progressing this research and hopefully, seeing it benefit more and more people in east London and beyond.”

Next steps will see the proof-of-principle research completed by testing the device in a further eight patients, followed by a larger clinical trial to demonstrate that the device is safe and works better than existing tests.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust partners with LatchAid Ltd to provide breastfeeding support 

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has partnered with LatchAid Ltd to provide breastfeeding support through an app, designed to provide the knowledge, support, comfort and community needed to parent and breastfeed, and to support mental health and infant feeding.

The Anya app is created for both healthcare professionals and families and uses 3D animation to help parents learn how to breastfeed, as well as AI technology to deliver answers to parents’ questions.

Parents can also access information weeks and months before birth such as AI interactions, 1-to-1 specialist support from experts, virtual drop ins, specialist webinars and chatrooms to meet other parents.