Local MPs praise the work of Interventional Radiologists at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB)

Steve McCabe MP recently visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s interventional radiology department to see first-hand how the innovative treatment of delivered there can save lives and money in the NHS.

The MP met with Consultant Radiologist Dr Ian McCafferty and his team to learn more about the state-of-the-art treatments available to Birmingham residents to treat cancer, internal bleeds and vascular problems.  Mr McCabe said that is was “Great to see such innovative treatments available to people in Birmingham”, adding that he was proud to see the city leading the way on innovation.

Interventional radiology (IR) allows doctors to use high tech imaging equipment to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system in the body without the need to use open surgery or laparoscopic techniques – it is often referred to as image guided surgery.  University Hospital’s Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust which runs QEHB has one of the finest IR teams in the country, with 12 consultants carrying out treatments treating 10,000 patients a year. 

Image guided surgery plays an increasingly important role in how the NHS delivers care as more patients require minimally invasive procedures to address complex problems. Mr McCabe heard from Dr McCafferty about the shortage of trained interventionists and how the NHS is struggling to meet this demand. According to the British Society of Interventional Radiology, around 400 members of staff are currently trying to do the work of 1,000 and this deficit is only set to increase as demand on the NHS rises. Birmingham however has an excellent team of IR consultants and is an exemplar centre used as an example by many services in the UK.

The MP was shown how, with the use of x-rays and ultrasound imaging, interventional radiologists can guide catheters through a patient’s body to pinpoint the exact area that needs to be treated. This technology means that a patient does not now need to go under a general anaesthetic or have major surgery, meaning treatment is performed through 1-2mm incisions, is less expensive, and patients recover quicker.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham’s IR team is a prime example of how innovation can used to improve treatments for patients and make the National Health Service more efficient and we are very fortunate to have one of the leading centres for interventional radiology in Birmingham. It is clear that we should do more to support and train clinicians in IR and boost the number of patients who can be treated.”

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