Sheffield hospitals to lead new virtual surgical centre of expertise

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to lead new European Reference Network to enable rapid sharing of surgical expertise

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to lead a new virtual specialist surgical centre of excellence aimed at tackling complex rare urogenital disorders, including pelvic floor dysfunction and bladder control problems.

The new centre, one of 24 European Reference Networks being established, will bring together leading surgeons and medical experts to ensure surgical expertise and knowledge on rare urogenital disorders is rapidly shared across a wide range of healthcare providers.

Leading clinicians and medics, including those from some of UK’s-best hospitals, will link up in virtual online forums to share and develop highly-specialised surgical skills to the benefit of patients suffering with rare disorders affecting the urinary system.

“Our expertise in this field is second to none and by working collaboratively with some of the best hospitals in the UK and Europe we hope to be able to attract vital funding, training and research which could make all the difference to patients

It is hoped the initiative will improve access to diagnosis and treatment for those suffering with rare or complex urogenital conditions, as well as encourage more research and specialist medical training in the field.

This could lead to new innovative research, including the development of new surgical materials to repair damage caused by pelvic organ prolapse and the establishment of a Biobank for urogenital disorders, where human tissue samples can be stored for future research use.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of only six NHS Trusts across the country named as a European Reference Network co-ordinating site.

The Sheffield-led centre, known as the European Reference Network (ERN) for rare and complex urogential diseases and conditions (eUROGEN), will focus on increasing knowledge and medical excellence in three key areas. This includes the treatment and diagnosis of people with highly-complex urogenital disorders, those who have rare urogenital cancers, and those who have suffered with urogenital disorders from birth.

The centre will be led by Professor Chris Chapple, a consultant urologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: “We are delighted to have been named as the co-ordinating site for the new European Reference Network for rare and complex urogenital diseases and conditions.

“Our expertise in this field is second to none and by working collaboratively with some of the best hospitals in the UK and Europe we hope to be able to attract vital funding, training and research which could make all the difference to patients who cannot undertake activities we normally take for granted as a result of these complex, and often highly-embarrassing disorders.”

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