Birmingham surgeon awarded for commitment to cancer

Recognition for research into killer disease.

Keith Roberts, Consultant Surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, has been presented with a Health Professional Excellence & Impact Award by Pancreatic Cancer UK for the incredible work he has done setting up a successful fast-track surgery pathway for patients diagnosed with operable pancreatic cancer.

Keith and his team focused on ways of reducing the time it takes for eligible patients to have surgery, to see if this meant that more of those patients had their tumour successfully removed. The team worked with hospitals to speed up referrals for patients and reorganised the way surgery was carried out. They also cut out a treatment generally given to patients before surgery for the symptom of jaundice (yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin).They reduced the time to surgery from an average of 65 days to 16 days and saved the NHS an astonishing £3,200 per patient.

Keith said: “Personally, the award was most unexpected but very gratefully received. I see the pathway changes we have made in Birmingham our duty to provide the best care that we can to our patients and therefore I was very surprised to receive this form of recognition.

“Though the award was a personal award, it reflects the attitude of the pancreas team in Birmingham. It is only possible to make changes to complex patient pathways when there is a dedicated and well-functioning team of pancreas specialists and network of between local hospitals and the specialist pancreas team.

“We are now implementing the second phase of our pathway improvements which aims to increase the recovery following surgery with the specific aim of getting chemotherapy to more patients.”

In the UK pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the twenty most common cancers, with just seven percent of people living for five years or more after diagnosis. Pancreatic Cancer UK is taking on this tough disease through supporting those affected, investing in ground breaking research and lobbying for greater recognition of the disease.

Diana Jupp, Chief Executive at Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “We’re delighted to have presented the Pancreatic Cancer UK Health Professional Excellence & Impact Award to such a worthy recipient. We can’t thank Keith enough for his ongoing support and commitment to the cause.

“His dedication to improving treatment options and outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients has not gone unnoticed. It was said he regularly goes above and beyond his core professional role in order to enhance the experience of his patients. He was also commended for his ongoing research and his commitment to supporting and encouraging his junior colleagues. Dedication, such as that given by Keith, is invaluable for people who are affected by pancreatic cancer.”