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Royal London surgeons awarded for helping stab victims get their lives back together after surgery

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 April 2019

Royal London A&E takes in two stabbings a day, many needing major surgery. Picture: Barts NHS

Royal London A&E takes in two stabbings a day, many needing major surgery. Picture: Barts NHS

Barts NHS

A programme for victims of knife crime in east London which supports them after being discharged from hospital has been recognised in national medical awards.

Royal London trauma surgeon Martin Griffiths... Royal London trauma surgeon Martin Griffiths... "Patients don't just need sewing up... they need supporting." Picture: Philip Coburn

The Royal London's 'violence reduction' trauma hospital team has won the 'prevention and lifestyle' Team of the Year title at the British Medical Journal awards.

The accolade is national recognition for the programme aimed at preventing and reducing knife crime which has also helped avoid victims being stabbed again in the future.

“We admit two stabbings and around 10 assaults a day in A&E on average,” consultant trauma surgeon Martin Griffiths revealed.

“These are young, angry people who've had good clinical results—but around a third would be readmitted within five years for another injury.

One-in-three stab victims treated at Royal London is readmitted within five years for another injury. Picture: Barts NHSOne-in-three stab victims treated at Royal London is readmitted within five years for another injury. Picture: Barts NHS

“Patients don't just need sewing up, they need supporting.”

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The team set up the programme four years ago with St Giles' Trust charity. Case workers were brought in to help patients and their families with a 'needs' assessment and giving practical support for up to six months after being released from hospital. This can include help with education, job training, housing and even court appearances.

The case workers are integrated with the trauma service and take part in ward rounds as well as being involved in discharging patients. The programme involved 525 patients in its first 18 months which resulted in reducing re-admissions later.

The Royal London is the busiest in western Europe for what's termed as 'penetrating trauma' injuries. Data collected by Barts Health trust shows 97 per cent of all stab victims being treated are males, nearly six-out-of-10 of them under 25.

The BMJ awards also named the Royal London Children's Anorectal Physiology service as 'highly commended' in the run-up for the 'diagnostics' Team of the Year title.

Barts health trust which runs the Royal London began a joint-treatment approach involving a paediatric specialist, psychologist, clinical nurse, physiologist and gastroenterologist.

Paediatric surgeon Stewart Cleve explained: “There are children with chronic constipation who are in a cycle of fear and have a poor quality of life, often bullied and some not even going to school.

“These children were stuck in a cycle where there was no investigation. The combination of physical and psychological treatment has since allowed us to break that cycle.”

Another BMJ award went to the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry's Prof Dame Parveen Kumar for 'outstanding contribution to health'.

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