A ground-breaking tiny camera hidden within a pill will be used at Stafford Hospital - the first in the county to offer the technology.
Gastroenterologists at the Weston Road site will use the camera to help get a full picture of a patient’s intestines. The equipment has been funded by the Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends group. It is ideal for viewing the small intestine in patients who are anaemic or suffer with inflammation in the small bowel, such as Crohn’s Disease.
The pill is swallowed by the patient who is then free to go back to work or home and return to the department after eight hours. On its journey down through the oesophagus and through the intestines the camera takes up to 80,000 images which are transmitted to a data recorder worn on a belt. Later in the day when the patient returns to the department staff remove the belt and download the images captured on camera.
The pill containing the camera is disposable and is simply flushed away by the patient. Dr Nick Bosanko, from Stafford Hosital, said: “Capsule endoscopy is an amazing piece of technology which has been used worldwide but has previously not been available at any of the hospitals in Staffordshire.
“This is a painless and non-invasive procedure and avoids X-ray radiation or very invasive and potentially uncomfortable endoscopy tests which have traditionally been used to image the small bowel.
“Funding new procedures in the NHS is a difficult issue at the moment and we are very grateful to the Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends who provided us with the money to purchase the required equipment and trial the capsule.
“This investment was to improve the experience of our patients and has pro- vided us with the opportunity to demonstrate just how effective the pill cam can be.”
Patient Frank Whitehead, who lives in Rugeley, has already experienced the new procedure. He said: “The pill was really easy to swallow and hopefully it will allow them to give me a speedy diagnosis.”
Colin Wilkinson, chairman of Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends added the camera would enhance patient experience, which was the group’s aim.