New service closer to home

Mr Vasudevan

Mr Vasudevan

Mr Vasudevan

Dr Barbara Buckley

Captions:The first two photographs show Mr Vasudevan with the anorectal manometry equipment that he made a successful business case for.

The third picture shows him also with a specialist ultrasound machine that Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust bought two years ago for £65,000 and which is also used in the anorectal physiology laboratory

The fourth photograph shows Trust Managing Director Dr Barbara Buckley cutting a ribbon to mark the opening of the laboratory.

31 July 2017

An idea that a Colchester doctor came up with two years ago has been developed into a new service which will spare 100 patients a year from having to travel to London for tests.

The anorectal physiology laboratory Colchester General Hospital will be used to carry out tests on patients with Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFD).

It is run by Mr Subash Vasudevan, a colorectal surgeon, who suggested establishing an anorectal physiology laboratory in a Dragons’ Den style innovation competition in 2015 organised by Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

The panel of five dragons supported his suggestion and encouraged him to develop a business case. Mr Vasudevan’s plan, which included the purchase of anorectal manometry equipment costing £21,000, was approved, and the first patient was assessed in the anorectal physiology laboratory on 19 July.

“I’m really grateful for the Dragons’ Den competition because without it we wouldn’t have this new service up and running in Colchester,” he said.

“Currently, we refer about 100 patients a year with constipation or faecal incontinence to the Royal London Hospital for tests. The other centres that offer these tests are Cambridge and Norwich.

“However, travelling all that way with these distressing symptoms for some of these patients, some of whom feel very apprehensive to even leave their home, let alone go to London, can be very daunting so about one out of every four patients doesn’t go to London for tests.

“The number of patients needing these tests continues to grow so in the future I’m hoping that the Trust will appoint a physiologist to help me run the service. There are no similar services in Ipswich or Chelmsford and I believe the wider population will benefit.”

About 80% of patients who need these tests are women, partly because of problems linked to childbirth and ageing.

The conditions that need these investigations are predominantly constipation, rectal prolapse and obstructed defaecation syndrome, and faecal incontinence.

These conditions can also be associated with radiotherapy and some pelvic operations, including prostate and rectal procedures for cancer. The majority of patients are aged over 60. However, young people can also be affected.

Following tests in the anorectal physiology laboratory, various treatments are available, including targeted pelvic floor physiotherapy, biofeedback therapy and surgery.

Last year, Mr Vasudevan established a PFD clinic at Colchester General Hospital, which he runs jointly with physiotherapists employed by the Trust and Anglian Community Enterprise.

There are very few centres in the country that offer a joint clinic with physiotherapy and the joint clinic has been welcomed by patients because it reduces the waiting time to see a physiotherapist.