Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is proud to boast one of only a handful of non-medical colonoscopists in the country who have been accredited to deliver colonoscopy procedures as part of the bowel cancer screening programme.

Colonoscopy is a highly effective way to diagnose pre-cancerous polyps and bowel cancer and comprises a careful examination of the lining of the bowel using a slim, flexible camera.

Jules Sanchez has qualified as a screening colonoscopist after carrying out more than 3,500 procedures and passing a series of demanding and stringent tests.

“Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the UK,” said Jules. “I wanted to fight bowel cancer in my own little way.”

Jules’ personal achievement demonstrates the Royal Surrey’s determination to support learning and development and to enable staff to reach their full potential.

Jules began his career at the Royal Surrey in 2002 as a health care assistant in the Endoscopy Unit and became a registered nurse two years later.  He then trained as a non-medical endoscopist with the support of mentors at Royal Surrey.  Jules was mentored by Mr John Stebbing, Consultant Surgeon and Chief of Service for the Division of Surgery at Royal Surrey.  Mr Stebbing is also Clinical Director of the Surrey Bowel Cancer Screening Centre.

Jules said: “Mr Stebbing and the other consultants have been really supportive in encouraging my training.

They have given me the opportunity to do a high volume of directly supervised colonoscopies with them which allowed me to progress quickly to independent procedures in a unit where there is a strong culture of supportive mentorship.”

Jules started his colonoscopy training in 2014 and now performs about 850 procedures a year.

Mr Stebbing said: “Screening accreditation is a huge challenge even for seasoned consultants and Jules has done brilliantly to achieve this benchmark. I look forward to his contribution to screening for many years to come.”

Endoscopy Unit Matron, Caroline Smith, said: “Jules Sanchez has become one of the most competent and skilled endoscopists in our service. He has undertaken the ‘Train the Trainer’ course to allow him to offer training to future endoscopists, he has studied to become a non-medical prescriber and, with his most recent achievement in accrediting as a screening colonoscopist, he is extending the boundaries of non-medical endoscopist practice. As a Unit and, as a Trust, we are immensely proud and congratulate him enormously on this significant achievement.”

The NHS in England offers two types of bowel cancer screening to adults registered with a GP.  Firstly, all men and women aged 60 to 74 are invited to submit a home test kit (stool sample) every two years, which is analysed for traces of blood with a positive test leading to offer of a colonoscopy. Secondly, Bowelscope screening, which has yet to be fully rolled-out, offers people a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy procedure at age 55 with the aim of detecting and removing tiny polyps before they have the chance to turn into anything more significant.

©2019 Royal Surrey County Hospital

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