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In conversation with our Academic Surgery leads

Hear from Mr Joydeep Sinha, consultant orthopaedic surgeon based at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH), [pictured below], on the importance of bringing surgeons and academics together across King’s Health Partners.

Mr Joydeep SinhaMr Joydeep Sinha is based at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, but also Joint King’s Health Partners Clinical Academic Group (CAG) leader for orthopaedics, trauma and plastics and an honorary senior lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London.

We took five minutes to learn more about his work and role in the King’s Health Partners Academic Surgery. Our Academy Surgery programme, first established in 2020, brings surgeons together across our partnership to collaborate in surgical science and improve education for future surgical trainees.

What is your current role and what can you tell us about your career up to this point?

I am a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in the Major Trauma Centre at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. My interest is in shoulder and elbow surgery, but apart from that, I am also the Joint King’s Health Partners CAG leader for the Orthopaedics,Trauma  and Plastics with my colleague, Peter Earnshaw who is based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

I qualified from the University of Manchester and did my surgical training in London. I completed my Orthopaedic training in south east London and was based  at  Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts. I also completed Fellowship  training in Shoulder and Elbow surgery a in Seattle and New York, and then Wrightington Hospital, north west England.

Can you tell us more about your involvement with our Academic Surgery programme?

I thought it was a tremendous bonus when Prof Prokar Dasgupta was appointed King’s Health Partners Professor of Surgery. I very much agree with his vision of bringing all the surgical subspecialties under the King’s Health Partners Surgery umbrella. I think we are all very supportive of that, both in terms of helping with education and training, but particularly also in terms of King’s Health Partners’ research profile.

I have also been involved in teaching and examining on the BScSurgical Sciences course which Prokar and Mr Kamran Ahmed, senior lecturer in urology, King’s College London, have organised. The BSc in Surgical Sciences is a structured course for medical students at King’s College London. My involvement has been fascinating from the point of view of encouraging and supporting students who are keen to pursue a career in Surgery. It has also been an honour to be involved in the cutting-edge research projects I worked on with the students, for example, in artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing.

One of the great things Prokar has organised under the Academic Surgery programme is the King’s Health Partners Academic Surgical Grand Round, which is a chance for every single surgical subspecialty to present on a monthly basis, both with an internal speaker and a world-renowned guest lecturer. So far, we have had great topics covered in terms of vascular surgery, upper gastrointestinal tract (GI), metabolic and bariatric surgery and more recently hepatobiliary surgery. I am very much looking forward to the session on orthopaedic surgery which is taking place later on in the summer.

What do you think the opportunities and benefits are of bringing together clinicians and academics in your surgical field?

I think the great aspect of bringing together clinicians and academics in this way is the cross fertilisation of ideas. Our surgeons and clinicians have regular patient contacts, but in terms of research, connections with academics are vital to be able to translate research ideas into research projects. For example, through my time both at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, I have worked with Prof Lucy Di Silvio, Professor of Tissue Engineering, King’s College London, and Prof Senjukta Deb, Professor in Biomaterials Science, King’s College London, in regenerative medicine, looking at stem cell work and biomechanics. One of the interesting things that has been informed by our work in this area is working with haematologists who are sampling the tissue of patients having hip replacements. This work has brought a great cross over between physicians and orthopaedic surgeons, working with my colleague Ines Reichert, looking at stem cell changes in patients with arthritic hips, working in collaboration and sponsored by industry.

My work in artificial intelligence currently is also incredibly interesting. We do 3D printing and planning for prosthetics in joint replacements, but we also now teach with virrtual and augmented reality. Working with AI has a cross over with all the academic work taking place within bioengineering experts at the MedTech Hub in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London and the new Surgical and Interventional Engineering facilities as well. I think it is fascinating that these kinds of opportunities are now emerging across King’s Health Partners – which will be fantastic for the future.

There are also huge opportunities between clinicians, academics and engineers in the field of robotics. The King’s Health Partners Clinician Innovators Programme (CLIP) programme, for example, supports the development of these innovative solutions by facilitating collaboration. We connect clinicians across Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts with biomedical engineering students at King’s College London. This gives engineering students the opportunity to work through real-world healthcare challenges and gain practical experience, while creating products that can help improve outcomes for patients.

How has your field changed over the past few years, and more recently, as a result of COVID-19?

A tremendous amount of our work in trauma and orthopaedic surgery is now arthroscopic – keyhole surgery – or minimally invasive. As with urology, we will also use robotic surgery and AI more, which is incredibly exciting because ultimately it means surgery is more precise, less invasive and less painful for patients.

However, with COVID-19, a lot of elective surgery was paused in the first and second lockdowns, with emergency cardiac and cancer surgery prioritised. However, since April 2021, we have picked up elective surgery and are now dealing with long waiting lists which may take some time to overcome, given the stretched resources.

What do you think the next few months and years holds for your work?

For the next few months our focus will be working out the best pathways to overcome the backlog in Elective surgery. One of the opportunities that has arisen is the Integrated Care System which has meant we have been able to focus on elective pathways so that patients get the best pathway for them.

In the long-term the exciting thing for all of us in surgery is advances in surgical techniques, with virtual and augmented reality for example, which will benefit surgical operations, and teaching and training. There is also the added benefit of artificial intelligence helping with diagnostics and patient pathways. With AI it is possible to handle much bigger data streams for the benefit of patients, we have already seen an impact in medical Imaging with diagnosing cancer and arthritis.

What advice would you give to aspiring surgeons in your field?

I think the main thing for anyone undertaking medicine and surgery is to enjoy it. The fascinating thing for medical students now is there is a huge cross-over between studying ‘classical’ medicine and new technologies. Although clinical and surgical skills are important, it is also now also important to understand 3D anatomy, medical imaging, simulation, virtual and augmented reality training to bolster their future surgical careers.

Want to learn more about King’s Health Partners Academic Surgery? Visit our website to explore our key areas of focus.