Kathryn Gill – Consultant surgeon and Deputy Director of Research and Development

She is a leading medic who is dedicated to finding the best treatment for faecal incontinence, a condition that affects one in 10 people across the country. 

Consultant surgeon Kathryn Gill, who is also the Deputy Director for Research and Development (R&D), has been working for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust for 10 years and for her, no two days are the same.

She said: “When I first came to the Trust, I was asked to set up the FINCH team (Faecal Incontinence and Constipation Healthcare) and now, it is one of the largest pelvic floor services in the country.

“I’m very proud of the team. We are a group of doctors and nurses who work together to provide specialist care to patients. The team has received a number of awards for its innovative approach in managing the condition safely within the hospital and community.”

She continued: “We work in a fast-paced environment where we make sure we give patients the best care possible. We regularly hold meetings to ensure we are up-to-date with patients’ progress and that they receive the right care at the right time in the right place.”

Beside her clinical work, Kathryn also focuses on carrying out research as she believes it is the key to improving patient care. She said:  “I am certain that R&D helps us provide better care to our patients.

“Currently, I am leading the FINCH team to take part in an international study, called SUBSoNIC, which aims to determine the effectiveness of a new surgical treatment for faecal incontinence. 

“Faecal incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements, resulting in involuntary soiling. This condition can lead to a social or hygienic problem.

“The new treatment, called sacral neuromodulation, uses a stimulator that sends electrical impulses to the nerves and muscles that control the lower bowel, which may improve continence.

“The results of the SUBSoNIC study will hopefully give us a clear understanding of how well the device works for patients. At the moment, we are recruiting patients to this important study.”

As the Deputy Director for R&D, Kathryn has a clear vision of how she would like to fulfil her role. She said: “One of our Trust’s priorities for R&D is to focus on improving the engagement with patients.

“We believe that patients play an important role in research and we want to engage with them more closely.

“We held our first research patient involvement group in July. The aim of this group is to provide a channel of communication through which patients and members of the public can help shape research at the Trust. Through their input, we, as healthcare professionals will have greater understanding of what the public want and how to deliver this.

“In addition, I’m very excited that we are going to open a new dedicated clinical research facility at Sandwell and enhancing facilities at City hospital later this year, where patients and researchers can work together.

“The places will also become central research hubs where researchers, from different professional backgrounds, can come together and collaborate.”

Outside work, Kathryn enjoys painting, a hobby that she picked up only two years ago. She said: “I have always appreciated art. So when my husband bought me some brushes and painting material, I started painting right away. And now, I’m a member of the Worcester Society of Artists.”

Kathryn’s new talent for art has earned the well-deserved fame, as she scooped the title Artist of the Year 2018 for Best Beginner animal and wildlife artist. She said: “I was shocked when I was told that I won the award. There were more than 2,000 submissions, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive the news.”

She added: “My hero would be Mohandas Gandhi. His peaceful approach in negotiation has a large influence on me.

“I find his work inspirational and I apply his philosophy in the work that I do every day, using communications to resolve differences and to achieve positive outcomes.”

If patients, who are suffering from faecal incontinence, would like to take part in the SUBSoNIC study, please contact consultant surgeon Kathryn Gill via email at kathryn.gill@nhs.net.