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Lord Darzi presents Michael Oko with MEH award

Snoring Disorders Centre founder, Consultant ENT surgeon Michael Oko, will address senior healthcare executives from across the Middle East in Abu Dhabi next week.

At the World Health Care Congress Middle East (11-13 December 2011) Mr Oko will be speaking about the benefits of preventative treatment in delivering cost savings, using the example of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) testing and treatment in Lincolnshire UK.

It is suspected that about 20% of car accidents are sleep related and research has shown that sleepiness can impair driving more than drink! Indeed, patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea have a 7-12 fold chance of a road traffic accident (RTA) compared to those who do not, and results in Lincolnshire have shown that treating the condition can reduce the accident rate dramatically.

In an interview to be published in Middle East Hospital magazine this month Mr Oko said,

“Fatal road accidents in Lincolnshire used to average about 79 per year. By December 2010, the number of fatal road traffic accidents had fallen from 79 to 45. A significant contributory factor in this success is that since 2006 the Snoring Disorders Centre 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. As well as the lives that have been saved by this initiative, this reduction in accidents also represents a saving of over £55 million to the economy, including the NHS.”

Mr Oko is bringing this message to the Middle East in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of not addressing the rising incidence of OSA across the region,

“With the low level of awareness of sleep apnoea in the Middle East it’s no surprise that road accident rates in the Gulf region are dreadful. In fact road traffic accidents are the second major cause of death in the UAE and there are 3500 fatalities per year from RTAs in Saudi Arabia alone. 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.”

Mr Oko has already been very active in bringing this message to the healthcare community in the Middle East throughout 2011. For his work in this area Mr Oko was awarded the Middle East Hospital magazine award for excellence in respiratory care.

In January 2012 Mr Oko is opening a new private clinic at 150 Harley Street in London, to increase treatment capacity in the London area, and to cater for overseas patients. He also plans to open further satellite clinics throughout the UK.


Notes to editors:

Media contact: Guy Rowland, PR Consultant | +44 (0)7909 088369 |

Launched in 2010, the World Health Care Congress Middle East (11-13 December 2011, Abu Dhabi), is the premier conference to feature global health care innovation. It attracts more than 600 senior health care thought leaders from all industry sectors, including hospitals, health systems, employers, government agencies, pharma, biotech and industry suppliers. WHCC Middle East is organized with sovereign partners the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). Additional sponsorship is currently provided by The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Children’s National Medical Center

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Snore Centre clinic

New clinic at Johnson Hospital

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.

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Jayex’s QI touch screen solution enables the trust to instantly review patient feedback to assist in the delivery of high-quality patient centred care

Jayex, the healthcare display technology specialist, today announces that United Lincolnshire NHS Trust (ULHT) has selected Jayex QI Interactive survey and patient information management kiosk to provide real-time feedback from its patients. United Lincolnshire NHS Trust aims to utilise patient feedback to improve service delivery, review patient wait-times and plan for service redesign where necessary. The survey and patient information management touch screen solution allows patients to immediately feedback on their visit at the Trust whilst awaiting discharge.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust invests each year in improving clinical services by replacing and upgrading medical equipment, modernising its estate and facilities and improving the information and technology infrastructure. In an average year, ULHT treats more than 180,000 accident and emergency patients, nearly half a million outpatients and almost 100,000 inpatients. As part of ULHT’s bid to modernise its facilities and enhance service wholly centred on the visiting patients, UHLT realised the best way to deliver this objective was through direct patient feedback.

Dr. Michael Oko, head of department for ENT surgery, general surgery and sleep service at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, comments on the importance of receiving patient feedback, “With the NHS undergoing significant reform, healthcare organisations are required to deliver efficiency savings whilst simultaneously improving the services delivered by clinicians to the patient. In addition, the introduction of medical revalidation demands that healthcare organisations, clinicians and GPs holding registration with a licence to practise will have to demonstrate to the General Medical Council (GMC) that they are fit to practise and complying with the relevant professional standards. An essential part of the revalidation process is measuring patient feedback and healthcare organisations must deploy the tools that will enable them to gather feedback and measure performance in advance of revalidation.”

Dr. Oko, explains, “Without the evidence to illustrate the level of service currently being provided to patients, healthcare organisations and GPs will have an impossible task of reviewing performance and improving areas of service – if and where necessary. Jayex’s QI Interactive solution offers healthcare organisations instant access to patient views and will greatly support healthcare professionals in the run-up to revalidation.”

“There are a number of ways in which patient feedback can be consumed, however, many of these methods demand time and resource, such as written questionnaires requiring manual entry of answers into a system and data analysis. Alternatively a web-based survey relies on the patient to log-on at home which would naturally reduce the number of respondents. The Jayex QI Interactive survey and information management kiosk alleviates these issues and provides the patient with a simple and quick way to give their feedback and delivers clear statistical information to managers and clinicians on their performance, the service the patients received and the surrounding environment.” said Dr. Oko.

The recent whitepaper – Liberating the NHS – outlined plans to revolutionise the NHS through the use of information to ensure patients receive high-quality patient care. With that in mind, healthcare organisations must consider ways of gathering feedback from patients to measure current performance, identify areas which require improvement and highlight examples where a department or clinician has excelled in order to promote best-practice across the local health economy.

Dr. Oko, adds, “At the heart of the NHS is patient satisfaction. The Jayex QI Interactive allows us to obtain the information that can enable ULHT to transform services to specifically meet the needs of the patient. By continually monitoring patient feedback all year round in real-time, we can avoid only hearing the complaints, analyse performance on an ongoing basis and share best practice across the Trust where clinicians and consultants regularly receive positive feedback.

“Healthcare is a service industry, but it doesn’t seem to behave like one. If you’ve got no evidence that you are delivering a good service to your patients, then it is impossible to review and improve upon. The patient survey and information management kiosk provides the Trust with instant access to patient views and offers a great platform to enhance our service for patients in the region.”

Full release published in E-Heath Insider

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Philips Enhanced System One

At the 8th Otolaryngology Exhibition and Conference, Philips is demonstrating, for the second year in a row, its most recent innovative range of Sleep Diagnostics and Therapy Solutions. The event will take place in Dubai from the 8th – 10th of May.

Otolaryngology is a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to the ear, larynx, and upper respiratory tract. Philips’ participation comes in line with its goal to increase awareness around sleep disorders caused by breathing difficulties.

“There are a number of potential causes for a disturbed night’s sleep. These include sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which affects approximately 4 percent of the adult population”, says Diederik Zeven, General Manager of Philips Healthcare Middle East. “It’s a disorder characterized by airway collapse behind the tongue during sleep, which obstructs breathing. If untreated, it can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes”, he adds.

As a global leader in the management of sleep disorders, Philips Healthcare has developed a wide range of products and solutions, from diagnostic tools through patient-centered sleep therapy devices, to help enhance the quality of sleep and thereby improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

Philips will be hosting a workshop, during the event, on Sleep Therapy Solutions, taking place on the 10th of May, demonstrating sleep apnea therapy devices and masks to the clinicians and offering them a practical hands-on training.

The Philips Healthcare solutions on display at the 8th Otolaryngology Exhibition and Conference are:

  • Alice 5™ Polysomnography System: a sleep laboratory system that is suitable for hospital or institutional applications. This system represents the state-of-art technology in sleep diagnostics and combines a total of 55 channels to diagnose sleep disorders in the lab setting.
  •  Alice PDx™ Portable Sleep Diagnostic System: a portable sleep recording device for Obstructive Sleep Apnea screening, follow up and diagnostic assessment of Cardio-Pulmonary Sleep Disorders. The Alice PDx™ enables clinicians to test their patients outside the lab, at home or clinic, without compromising the study’s results.
  •  RU Sleeping™: a basic screening device that provides real-time apnea score
  •  System One Sleep Therapy Platform of CPAP & BiPAP: is the latest generation from Philips Respironics Sleep Therapy Devices for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The new CPAP and BiPAP devices comes with intelligent technology that simplifies patient management by monitoring patients and recognizing when therapy needs are changing, while offering sophisticated comfort enhancements.
  •  Comfort Gel Nasal & Face Masks: Philips Respironics provides a wide range of patient masks for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Besides it’s unique and comfortable Gel Nasal and Face Masks, it offers minimal contact masks that aims to provide more patient comfort during therapy.

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Michael Oko, head of sleep service at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), and founder of the Snoring Disorders Centre, which specialises in treating sleep apnoea, has called for the NHS to provide patients with a complete set of information when choosing where to go for treatment.

What is important to a patient? According to Lincolnshire patients what they want is: to be seen locally; by a friendly doctor; in a timely manner; in a pleasant and clean environment; and to be given a high quality service. The level of success in achieving of all these things by a healthcare provider is measurable, and is measured at ULHT using the latest interactive technology. However, patients and GPs need access to the information when booking, and need to have comparable information from other providers.

Sleep apnoea expert Mr Oko said, “At the moment there is no evidence available to patients and GPs through Choose and Book about the quality of the service they would expect to receive. People need to be given the full picture from healthcare providers, whether public or private, and then they can make an informed choice. patient satisfaction should be at the heart of the NHS. Healthcare is a service industry, but it doesn’t seem to behave like one. If you’ve got no evidence that you are delivering a good service to your patients, then it is impossible to review and improve upon.”

The Jayex QI Interactive system allows ULHT to obtain the information that can enable consultants like Mr Oko to transform services to specifically meet the needs of the patient. By continually monitoring patient feedback all year round in real-time, they can avoid only hearing the complaints, analyse performance on an ongoing basis, and share best practice across the Trust where clinicians and consultants regularly receive positive feedback.

Mr Oko saw 383 patients at the Snoring Disorders Centre from April 2010 to April 2011 and on average 96% of patients were very satisfied with the service they received across five categories (understanding, explanations, friendliness, politeness, listening), and 82.5% were very satisfied with the cleanliness and pleasantness of the surroundings (with 96.5% satisfied or very satisfied).

Mr Oko added, “An essential part of the revalidation process is measuring patient feedback and healthcare organisations must deploy the tools that will enable them to gather feedback and measure performance in advance of revalidation. Every Trust and clinician is under great pressure to perform in a challenging financial climate. In order to provide high-quality care you ultimately need to be thinking about your patients, what they want and how you can improve it. Unless you have an efficient method to monitor and measure the patient’s experience, the coming years will be considerably tough.”

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries and interview requests please contact: Guy Rowland, tel: 0033(0)615342089

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Consultant ENT surgeon and founder of the Snoring Disorders Centre (Snore Centre), Michael Oko, has launched a new online resource in the form of a blog , with the aim of spreading the message about sleep apnoea and snoring via online social media networks.

Blog posts cover all aspects of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA); from the latest research into the condition, to everyday issues that sufferers face. The site will therefore be of interest to both medical professionals, as well as sufferers, and anyone looking for more information about the condition. The blog will complement the existing Snore Centre website which provides visitors with information about diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea.

Mr Oko said, “Sleep apnoea has been prevalent for many years and is associated with obese patients in two thirds of cases, but awareness of the existence of this condition is very low. With the obesity epidemic which is spreading across the world, in particular in developed and wealthy countries, the impact on society of this chronic condition is becoming more apparent.  OSA can ruin the quality of life of sufferers, and is also a significant cause of road accidents. This is why I feel it is vital to use any means available to alert people to the existence of this condition, and encourage them to seek medical advice if they suspect they have OSA.”

Although about 20% of the population snore, OSA is thought to affect between 2 and 4% of the population and is at least twice as common in males as females. In practice overweight males in sedentary occupations (lorry drivers for example) in their 30s and 40s are the group most commonly present in the clinics, with a history of loud snoring and fatigue. Mr Oko has already called for all haulage drivers to be tested for OSA

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