July 11, 2019

Grant expands Northern Health ENT services

Our Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgery Department is delighted to have recently received a grant from the Northern Health Foundation, allowing them to purchase surgical equipment to introduce complex ear surgery to the services offered at Northern Health.

Director of Ear, Nose & Throat Services, Dr Deborah Amott said, “Many people in our community need specialist ear surgery due to chronic ear disease. This surgery enables children to hear properly during their education, and adults to increase their participation in the workplace, education, and taking care of their own families, removing the burden of recurrent ear infections, pain and poor hearing.”

Complex ear disease is usually associated with recent migrant population and low-socio economic groups, which are over represented in the northern corridor.

The grant has allowed the department to purchase a mastoid drill, a piece of surgical equipment crucial to performing very complex ear surgery.

“We’re very excited because this enables us to not only add new resources to the ENT unit here, but also perform a surgery that a lot of people in the northern growth corridor require,” Dr Amott said.

Until now, patients with this kind of ear disease need to be referred to other health services, often with considerable time away from their family and work due to travel for appointments and surgery, as well as causing significant inconvenience and costs for our hospital.

“Patients can end up on waiting lists for a long period of time, and if they require surgery and follow-up care there, it’s a great deal of inconvenience to them. So we’re very excited to offer a new line of surgical treatment for this group of patients locally,” Dr Amott said.

“It’s a great advantage for local patients and creates an overall improved patient experience within our hospital,” Dr Amott added.

For Northern Health as a whole, Dr Amott tells us being able to offer this new surgery means we can build more ENT services, which has a significant run on effect for the rest of the hospital, particularly the emergency department as they will have improved access to ENT surgeons.

It also means we’re able to recruit surgeons that wish to offer this particular service, who would otherwise be looking for work elsewhere.

“Expanding Northern Health ENT services is also a stepping stone on our way to building training positions within our unit, as access to this kind of surgery is mandatory to be approved by the College of Surgeons,” Dr Amott said.

Currently, ENT offers a daytime service without significant after hours emergency services.

“The purchase of this new, surgical equipment is a very big step towards having a 24/7 ENT presence at the hospital. It’s $21,000 towards an entire service – it’s a very impressive leverage for a relatively small amount of money,” Dr Amott added. 

“We’re extremely grateful for the help from the Northern Health Foundation both in giving us the grant, but also helping us through the process of applying for it,” Dr Amott said.

“I’d very much like to acknowledge the support from the surgical directorate here and surgical services – they’ve all been very supportive.” 

The support from the Northern Health Foundation builds on expansion of the ENT service underway, towards a fully-fledged service for our local community.