London’s first specialist burns service attached to a major trauma centre has treated 150 patients in its first nine months; equivalent to four seriously injured people each week.
The clinic at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London is staffed by an expert small team of plastic surgery and burns consultants and a specialist nurse.
It is a timely new service considering London has seen a huge increase in acid attacks, with more than 800 of the 1,500 reports of acid attacks in London over the last five years happening in east London.
Being co-located within Europe’s largest major trauma centre positions the team to best support the most severely injured patients from the moment they are admitted to hospital. They also assess and treat patients with less serious injuries in the accident and emergency department, as well as those with minor or historic burns referred from GPs.
Clinic lead, Honorary Plastic Surgery and Burns Consultant, Ioannis Goutos said: “I am proud to have established this new clinic at The Royal London Hospital as part of the London and Southeast Burn network.
“Injuries caused by burns can be devastating, from long-lasting significant restriction to limb movement caused by fused skin and tissues, to highly visible scars. It is vital that patients receive the highest quality care to reduce their risk of infection and provide the best possible chance of minimising any long-lasting damage.”
The new clinic, run by Barts Health NHS Trust, provides cutting edge, personalised care closer to home for people in east London.
The team also assesses the psychological impact on patients and, if needed, offers psychological support to cope with either the circumstances which caused the injury or the longer-term impact of living with physical scars. In addition, The Royal London Hospital runs a specialist scar service providing tattooing or camouflage make up to enhance the healed skin during rehabilitation.
Sergey Svircenkovs, aged 23, who lives in Bethnal Green was on holiday in in Sri Lanka in February 2017 when he suffered serious burns to his ankle in an accident where his trousers suddenly caught fire. Sergey explained: “My trousers fused with my skin around my ankle. I was in the mountains with no immediate access to medical care, self-treating with aloe vera leaves. I knew I needed urgent medical care.
“When I landed in London I went straight from the plane to The Royal London Hospital’s Emergency Department where I was treated and referred to the hospital burns unit. I had surgery in March to transplant skin taken from my hip - about the size of my palm - to my ankle which only took five minutes. Since then I have been able to see progress day to day and I am so much better; I can now walk again! Having the clinic round the corner from where I live has been great, and the team were fantastic throughout explaining everything clearly.”
The London and Southeast Burn network serves a population of around 21 million people, living in London, the East of England, Kent Surrey and Sussex, Thames Valley and Wessex.