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I am pleased to announce I have been awarded the Middle East Hospital magazine award for excellence in respiratory care, and making an outstanding contribution to healthcare in the Middle East. The Snoring Disorders Centre took a stand at the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai this year to raise awareness of the negative impact that OSA is having in the UAE and wider Middle East, and I met with healthcare professionals interested in treating this issue in the Arab region. I also be attended Saudi Medicare in Riyadh in April to spread the message further around the region.
Levels of obesity, hypertension and heart disease are rocketing in the wealthy Middle East, mainly due to the life-style out there. People are working long hours, eating rich calorie-laden food, driving everywhere and not exercising enough. I believe that the success I have had in Lincolnshire can be replicated in the Middle East by raising awareness of the condition, and forming long-term partnerships with local hospitals, doctors, and government departments.
With the low level of awareness of sleep apnoea in the Middle East it’s no surprise that road accident rates out in Dubai and the UAE are dreadful. In fact road traffic accidents are the second major cause of deaths in the UAE. There are 3500 fatalities per year from RTAs in Saudi Arabia alone, and OSA could well be a factor in many of them.
The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement is publishing a profile of the Snoring Disorders Centre, outlining the service and the impact it has had both for individual patients and Lincolnshire as a whole. This will be put up on the NHS Innovations website and circulated throughout the NHS as an example of best practice in service innovation. Here is an extract on the benefits the service has had in road accident reduction:
“Occupational road related deaths and accidents in Lincolnshire average about 79 per year. 20% of car accidents are shown to be sleep related although it’s uncertain how many are due to obstructive sleep apnoea. The cost of each fatal accident is around £1.64 million, so every accident prevented is of significant benefit to society and to the NHS. Many of our patients admit to feeling drowsy at the wheel.
“By December 2010, the number of fatal road traffic accidents had fallen from 79 to 45. This represents a saving of over £55 million to the economy, including the NHS. A contributory factor may be that the service has treated over 1,200 patients with sleep apnoea and these people are now able to drive more safely, rather than being in fear of falling asleep at the wheel.
“One patient who drives 50,000 miles a year for work said using the CPAP machine to treat his sleep apnoea has turned his life around: ‘For four or five years I struggled to sleep and I used to need two naps every day just to get through the day. My GP referred me to Mr Oko when I said I had trouble sleeping. Within weeks he got me on a CPAP machine which I use every night and I’ve never looked back. It’s made a huge difference to my life’.”
The Lincolnshire-based Snoring Disorders Centre has opened a new clinic at Johnson Hospital in Spalding to enable sufferers of sleep apnoea from the surrounding communities easy access to a high quality treatment service.
The Snoring Disorders Centre (or Snore Centre) is based at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, and a high demand for the service has led founder and sleep specialist Michael Oko to set up the Spalding clinic:
“The East Midlands and East of England is currently under-served in this therapy area, and people were having to travel long distances for diagnosis and treatment in Boston. Now the people of South Lincolnshire and North Cambridgeshire have an easily accessible sleep service, and the clinic is also easier to reach for patients from further afield”, said Mr Oko.
Up to 4% of the adult population are thought to suffer from sleep apnoea, which is often undiagnosed. This condition prevents sufferers from getting a good night’s sleep and is linked to serious medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Sufferers are usually permanently tired, resulting in a reduced quality of life and an greatly increased risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. In a recent survey by road safety charity Brake one in seven drivers were found to have sleep apnoea.
Mr Oko added, “If you suspect that you or a relative may have sleep apnoea I strongly advise going to see your GP, who can refer you to a sleep clinic for diagnosis. You can also take this simple test
to find out if you have a high probability of being a sufferer. Treatment is straightforward and effective, and achieving a good night’s sleep can transform the lives of sufferers and their partners.”
At the Snore Centre there is a strong emphasis on patient satisfaction, which is monitored via interactive touch screen technology. Mr Oko saw 383 patients from April 2010 to April 2011 and on average 96% of patients were very satisfied with the service they received.
The Snoring Disorders Centre won an East Midlands Health and Social Care Award in the Service Transformation category in 2008, and also an MEH award for Excellence in Respiratory Care in 2009.