Pilot study + cycling = patient benefit

Based at East Lancashire NHS Trust at Blackburn and Burnley, urologist Shalom Srirangam is about to undertake a first-of-its-kind pilot study that could have wide implications for the NHS.

Funded by TUF, Shalom is studying what happens to patients with acute kidney stones once they are discharged from hospitals. Shalom’s research hopes to understand the impact kidney stones have on patients’ quality of life, as well as the indirect cost – to the NHS, the economy, and patients themselves.

“Kidney stones are pretty common – there is a one in ten chance that a person will have a kidney stone in their lifetime, and once a person has had a kidney stone there is a 50 per cent chance of having another one,” explained Shalom. “A patient with kidney stones can present acutely ill at hospital and require interventions but we don’t know how the stones impact on the patient and their family once they are discharged. We don’t know how their quality of life is affected or the indirect cost implication for time off work and for their family taking time off work to look after them while they recover – there are no data of this sort in the UK.”

The project will run for one year and will collect data from 200-300 patients. The study will look at the cost to the NHS, the economy and to the patients for time taken off work. It will also aim to delineate the cost benefits of each of the different methods of treating kidney stones.

Shalom said: “We are hoping we will be able to extend the pilot into a bigger-funded study to help quantify how much stone disease costs the NHS and also the wider economy. This study will have implications for hospital investment into kidney stones service provision and decision making. It may help influence NHS policy and fund-holders, bringing about changes to infrastructure.”

Shalom has been a supporter of The Urology Foundation since 2008, when the charity partially funded his fellowship in Belgium. He says the fellowship has had profound personal and professional benefits.

“Keyhole surgery in urology was just taking off then and I was working with people who were regarded as experts in this area. I was able to immerse myself in a high-volume, high quality centre, getting through large numbers of cases. It was eye-opening to get experience of a different health system and step back and see different ways of working. There were aspects of care and delivery I was able to use in my consultant practice later on.

“The surgical outcomes for patients relies to a large extent on how technically-skilled surgeons are. Surgery is a craft and you have to learn it. Having the experience of the fellowship visit, doing the number of procedures and getting the feedback of experts made me technically better which is better for patients because this should result in better outcomes and lower complication rates.”

Having been supported by TUF, both in his fellowship and new pilot study, Shalom is now fundraising for us. Later this month (July), he and his 16-year-old son Rohan will be cycling coast-to-coast, from Workington to Sunderland. It is a journey of 140 miles and will be completed in just one day. They are hoping to raise £1,000.

“I wanted to do this cycling challenge because TUF have personally supported me through my fellowship and I was very grateful for TUF’s willingness to support our research pilot study and I wanted to give something back,” he said.

“Cycling is a big part of TUF, who run cycling challenges every two years, and who better to support than TUF, who have helped me through the years?

“It is great to work with a charity that is willing to support research into a wide range of important cancerous and non-cancerous urological conditions. TUF have been very supportive in my training and development and should be the go-to charity for urologists and junior trainees.”

To participate in a fundraising challenge, click here


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