Research award for team led by Benenden Hospital Consultant
11th May 2015
A consultant from Benenden Hospital is part of a team who have been awarded £342,000 to carry out a research study.
Haytham Ali, a general surgeon at Benenden, is in a team of nine surgeons and six gastroenterologists who were successful in a bid to National Institute for Health and Research Patient Benefit Programme. He will lead the project together with Professor Ian Swaine, from the Department of Life and Sports Sciences at the University of Greenwich. The research project began in March and will take place over three years.
It will look at how exercise can help patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In particular it will focus on patients undergoing abdominal surgery for cancer. The study will examine if doing exercise before and after surgery improves patient outcomes.
The research project is called BETTER – Basic Exercise Training to Enhance Recovery. Essentially it will look at the possible benefits of a muscle-strengthening exercise programme. Patients taking part in the trial will be encouraged to exercise while in hospital and given a programme to continue after discharge at home.
The research team includes members from across various organisations and regions and includes Dr David Stephenson, a physiotherapist from the East Kent Hospitals University Trust and Dr Kevin Corbett from Middlesex University. Mr Ali, who is also a consultant surgeon at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said patients from across the country could benefit from the findings.
Mr Ali said: “Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel better and makes you healthier, we know that physiotherapy can help after a heart attack, but no-one knows if exercise before and after an operation improves outcomes.
Research like this has not been carried out when it comes to general surgery.”
To start with the team will carry out a feasibility study, which will look at issues such as who will take part, how the research will be carried out and what obstacles might stand in the way. This will be followed by a multi-centre trial, asking units across the country to take part.
Mr Ali has worked at Benenden Hospital for the past eight years. For the past two years he has been part of the hospital’s South East Surgical Services Group which is made up of nine surgeons and six gastroenterologists. He said: “I have carried out research projects in the past, probably about eight or nine, but this is the biggest sum to have been awarded. My research has always centred on improving surgical outcomes.”