Staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ have been sharing their expertise in Vietnam to help improve healthcare for critically ill patients.
Three critical care consultants and a critical care matron travelled to the Southeast Asian country for a week-long visit.
They provided teaching sessions at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Hanoi. They also joined ward rounds and provided advice on how to treat some of the sickest patients.
Dr Duncan Wyncoll, a critical care consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, helped organise the visit with his colleagues Dr Guy Glover, Dr Ehsan Ahmadnia and critical care matron David Mestecky.
Dr Wyncoll said: “Our mission is to try and improve healthcare for patients in Vietnam who require intensive care treatment by sharing our knowledge and adapting it to their local circumstances. These two particular hospitals produce some superb research into tropical diseases so we also got to see and learn about some conditions that we very rarely come across in the UK.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals worldwide saw an increase in the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, which provides the highest level of life support by temporarily replacing the work of the lungs and/or heart in patients with severe lung and/or heart failure, allowing time for their organs to recover.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of five centres to provide an ECMO service across the NHS, and is the largest ECMO centre in the UK.
Dr Wyncoll said: “Vietnam has received lots of new equipment and machines over the last few years and we have the expertise in how to use them. By holding teaching sessions we’re able to help upskill and educate staff at the hospitals so they can provide the best possible care to their critically ill patients.”
The visit was part of the Intensive Care Development Programme – a two-year collaborative effort between Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), a large-scale clinical and public health research unit with site offices in Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal. Coordinated by OUCRU and funded by Dragon Capital Group, a financial institution focused on Vietnam and other Southeast Asian emerging markets, the Programme aims to support the development of high-quality intensive care for those with life-threatening infectious diseases in Vietnam.
Staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ started teaching in Vietnam in 2014 but were unable to visit during the pandemic. Over the last two years they set up virtual teaching sessions and case discussions around the care of patients with COVID-19.
Since 2016, the Trust has also welcomed around 20 medical graduates from Vietnam as part of a week-long observership programme to gain experience of clinical practice in the NHS.
ICU training in Hospital for Tropical Diseases
ICU training in National Hospital for Tropical Diseases
Ward round in ICU of Trung Vuong hospital