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Doctors hailed for making big difference

PUBLISHED: 14:24 07 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:37 03 July 2010

Praised: Dr William Notcutt.

Praised: Dr William Notcutt.

Two Norfolk doctors, both based at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital (JPH), are featured in a new publication celebrating success stories of medical professionals in the NHS.

Two Norfolk doctors, both based at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital (JPH), are featured in a new publication celebrating success stories of medical professionals in the NHS.

Partners in Care, published today by the British Medical Association, focuses on the way doctors can make a big difference to the quality of patients' lives.

Among 18 national case studies, looking at both the doctor's and patient's perspective, are JPH consultants Dr William Notcutt and Dr Guy Vautier.

Dr Notcutt, a consultant in pain management, admits the back-pain service he runs at the JPH may not be “hi-tech sexy medicine”, but he feel that in some ways it is more challenging than the work of a high-flying surgeon.

He said: “Young people affected by chronic pain often see their lives falling apart and the challenge is helping them to see a way out of their problem.”

A very small percentage of patients needed the input of spinal surgeons, but the main focus was to help them manage problems by dealing more effectively with long-term disabilities.

Treatment involved not just physiotherapy and drugs but might also touch upon elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, education and rehabilitation.

Recounting her story, patient Clare Thompson describes the treatment she has received over 12 years at Dr Notcutt's clinic as “fantastic”. Dealing with daily pain following spinal surgery after a nightclub attack 16 years ago, she said: “Without them, I don't know where I would be today.”

Ms Thompson, whose lumbar spine area is supported by screws and artificial ligaments, says she is keen to highlight the emotional support she gets from the team.

Dr Vautier's work in setting up a specialist hepatitis C clinic is highlighted.

Mainly transmitted by blood-to-blood contact and associated with intravenous drug users, hepatitis C carries a social stigma and, left untreated, can lead to liver failure and ultimately death.

Dr Vautier said: “The problem with helping people who are at high risk of contracting hepatitis C is that they tend not to go to the GP. Our clinic relies on outreach work into the community.”

Hepatitis C could be treated effectively, and in many cases cured, using anti-viral drugs.

The treatment required the commitment of patients over the course of six months to a year.

Dr Vautier said: “Some of my patients are worn out by their lifestyles. They want normal lives - to live to see their grandchildren.”

He said while patients were receiving the treatment, which could have unpleasant side effects, staff liaised with other agencies to ensure their social care and mental-health needs were met.


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