Staff at the University of Edinburgh and the NHS work together to provide innovative, specialised care.
There has been longstanding surgical specialisation in what has been traditionally called 'general surgery'.
The Vascular Unit was the first in the United Kingdom to provide a dedicated specialist regional service which delivered an emergency and elective care to patients with vascular disease.
Since 1988, the Hepato-biliary and Pancreatic Unit (HPB) has provided a tertiary referral service for the management of these complex diseases.
Breast services in the region were also brought together in a dedicated unit, initially at Longmore Hospital and more recently at The Western General Hospital.
The Scottish Liver Transplantation Unit was established at the Royal Infirmary in 1992 and has since grown to include the Scottish Pancreas Transplant Unit and the East of Scotland Kidney Transplant Programme.
In recent years the remaining ‘general surgical’ service has been reorganized to provide a dedicated colorectal unit based at the Western General Hospital with the upper gastrointestinal unit (including the hepatobiliary and pancreatic service) based in the Royal Infirmary.
This specialist service ensures that patients in the region have 24 hour access to surgical specialists for treatment. This reorganization has also facilitated the development of multidisciplinary teams for the management of all gastrointestinal cancers.
This integration of clinical service has enhanced the opportunities for clinical and scientific research.
Undergraduate teaching and postgraduate training has also benefited considerably as a result of both the surgical specialisation and the synergistic relationship between university and hospital divisions.
This article was published on Feb 4, 2011