Earlier this year we partnered with Addenbrooke’s Hospital and St George’s Medical Centre in Littleport, Cambridgeshire to offer lifesaving venesection treatment in the local community. The pilot has been so successful, it has been extended for a further 3 years.

Dr Mukesh Bolina, GP Partner at St George’s Medical Centre added: “St George’s are delighted that the venesection pilot has been such a success. We are extremely grateful to Haemochromatosis UK for funding the pilot. We are so thrilled to have the support of both of this wonderful charity and through their donations we have accomplished what we set out to achieve."

Above : Healthcare assistant Wendy Gosling and Colin Williams, one of the patients who has benefited from the pilot community venesection service funded by Haemochromatosis UK

Today, we're able to share the results of a patient survey run throughout the pilot. Almost 60 patients benefitted from the initial 5-month pilot programme, which was rated 9.9 out of 10 by those taking part. Local people using the new service especially welcomed the convenience of receiving treatment locally in Littleport (85%) with 83% of patients noting the convenience of a local service, over travelling to Addenbrookes Hospital. Travelling to the hospital can be as much as a 50-mile round trip for some patients and as transport links are poor this leads to missed appointments, anxiety and the risk of developing serious health problems from iron overload.

Cambridge Universities Hospital Trust noted a significant reduction in missed appointments, by moving the service out of Addenbrookes Hospital and into the community.

Dr Bill Griffiths PhD FRCP, Consultant Hepatologist at Addenbrookes Hospital, said: “As travelling to Addenbrooke’s became evidently more challenging and noticing on the map a sizeable community that was not close to us or any of the neighbouring hospitals, this looked an ideal opportunity. We worked hard with the St George’s team and haemochromatosis UK to get the pilot going. Some of the things that make it work are a great HCA in Wendy and our space age electronic medical record system. The pilot was a great success and I am delighted this is now for the longer term. The patients have nothing but praise for the Littleport venesection service and I am hopeful it will set a precedent for other areas in the country to adopt a similar model.”

Chief Executive of Haemochromatosis UK, Neil McClements said:

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Addenbrooke’s Hospital and St George’s Medical Centre in Littleport to deliver this innovative pilot project. It’s been a tremendous success - with one patient describing it a “godsend”. We look forward to seeing how the service develops over the next 3 years.”

Dr Mukesh Bolina, GP Partner at St George’s Medical Centre added: “A special thanks to our Health Care Assistant, Wendy Gosling and Quality & Performance Manager, Poppy Knowles without whom we simply could not have provided the outstanding patient care and service that we do. Their dedication in setting up the service in house and keeping the clinics running has been second to none.  We have built strong relationships with the team at Addenbrooke’s and we look forward to working in partnership long-term to help local patients with haemochromatosis.”

Above : People with genetic haemochromatosis in remote rural Cambridgeshire described the new service as "a godsend"