A TRAINING initiative started by doctors at a North-East hospital has won a medical ‘oscar’.

The UK Endovascular Trainees Group (UKETS - set up by cardiologists, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists from the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle - were named the UK’s best education and training team at the BMJ Healthcare Awards ceremony.

The group has pioneered the use of virtual reality simulators to train junior doctors in endovascular procedures (minimally invasive surgery designed to access many regions of the body via the major blood vessels).

They have also produced a wide range of training films that are available on YouTube showing how to perform these procedures on simulators.

The team have also developed an iphone app, enabling trainees to track their simulation training, and host hands-on training courses throughout the UK.

UKETS lead cardiology consultant, Dr Alan Bagnall said “We are delighted to have won this award, but the real motivation for us is to improve patient safety. All doctors need to learn, but by developing core skills on simulators beforehand, we ensure that any risks to patients are minimised”.

One of the three lead clinical consultants in UKETS is Mr Philip Davey, a consultant vascular surgeon at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.