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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Geordie Hospital TV series putting Tyneside hospitals in the spotlight

Isma Iqbal is one of the stars of the new Channel 4 series Geordie Hospital launched earlier this week to great acclaim.

A total of six programmes will celebrate the extraordinary work being performed by NHS staff across both their shifts and hospitals in the city.

Isma is an ENT surgeon at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where she treats all kinds of conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat.

The 40-year-old has a particular interest in rhinology (nose and sinus problems) and anterior skull base surgery (treating conditions deep in the nasal cavity and sinuses), using non-invasive techniques as opposed to open surgery.

Dr Isma Iqbal featured in Geordie Hospital on Channel 4. Image: Courtesy of Newcastle-Hospitals.nhs.uk

In the first programme the consultant, working on Tyneside since 2005, removed a tumour from 76-year-old, Terry, found to be damaging his eyesight. This involved skull base surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumour from the base of his brain through the nose. Using a camera and special instruments, Isma teamed up with neurosurgeon Ian Coulter to remove the tumour and patch up the area operated on.

Isma explained: “I like the complexity of this part of the body and really enjoy seeing the significant improvement for each patient’s quality of life.

“Skull base surgery allows treatment through a less invasive approach which is better for patients. It also allows me to manage complex conditions as part of a multidisciplinary team.

“The satisfaction you feel when you’ve changed someone’s life for the better is an amazing feeling.

“I wasn’t too comfortable with the filming initially but once I got to know the production team, I felt a lot more relaxed – I’m glad I took part.”

Isma’s general view in life is to say yes to every opportunity that comes her way as long as it’s reasonable. In her spare time, Isma enjoys hiking, Pilates and HITT training to help with stress relief and keeping fit. She practises self-reflection and meditation, enjoys travelling, interior design and spending time with her nieces and nephews.

She added: “I enjoy working here as everyone is really friendly, helpful and basically like an extended family. I have had some fantastic mentors and colleagues here which makes me feel like I work in a supportive environment.

“By taking part hopefully I will send the message that surgery is for anyone who has the passion, discipline and determination to go for it, and I hope that women, particularly from the BAME community, will be inspired to pursue a career in surgery.”

Also In the first episode, Consultant Transplant Surgeon, Colin Wilson, performed a kidney transplant on Kimberley, using an organ which her older sister, Debra, has bravely donated. Head Chaplain, Katie Watson, brought staff welfare hound, Poppy Jingles, back to work for the first time in 18 months after being “furry-loughed”, due to Covid. Consultant, Emma Simpson, changed the device powering four-year-old, Kit’s, mechanical heart to one enabling him to leave the hospital grounds for the first time in months.

Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive of The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented: “We wanted to show the very best of Newcastle in a warm and engaging way – focussing on our world class clinicians as well as our extremely valued support staff who are all equally important in caring for our patients.

“I’m very grateful to all of the staff and patients who gave their time and expertise to help us make this programme.”

Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor, Rita Daniels said: 2In each of the six episodes you can clearly see their dedication, deep felt connection and enthusiasm for the patients they meet every day.”

Geordie Hospital on Channel 4 will be aired on Monday nights from 8pm.

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