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07 April 2022

Live illustrated patient & public involvement group provides crucial insights for neurosurgery study

Researchers and clinicians have launched a Science for Tomorrow's Neurosurgery patient & public involvement group


Researchers and clinicians from the Department of Neurosurgery at King’s College Hospital and industry representatives from Hypervision Surgical have formed a new Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) group, Science for Tomorrow’s Neurosurgery to engage in conversation with neurosurgery patients and develop their research with the public.

The session, supported by the Brain Tumour Charity also featured artist Jenny Leonard who created live illustrations based on the group's insights, feedback and ideas. The process is designed to sketch the journey of the conversations, providing new ways to present in-depth and complex sentiments in an engaging and inclusive way.

Patients were very excited by the technology discussed and valuable insights were captured about the importance of communication, trust of AI and patient priorities. The sessions were tailored to provide patient and public feedback on a light-based intraoperative hyperspectral imaging technology designed to make brain tumour removal surgery safer and more complete.

Mr Andrew Plowright, who had successful surgery for a brain tumour seven years ago, said it was a successful operation but left him with some physical issues to overcome.

Mr Plowright said he tried to get involved with support groups and charities since his own treatment but this project particularly grabbed his attention.

“It is looking at reducing the potential problems resulting from brain surgery - very close to my own story,” he said.

The first patient involvement group meeting was a great success, with a group of very interesting people from various walks of life watching some informative presentations and asking some fantastic questions. All of the comments and questions arising from this session will help us to better understand the needs and worries of patients and enable us to make sure that we address these issues in our communications for this project.

Mr Andrew Plowright

The PPI session was an invaluable way to explore important clinical and research questions with a range of neurosurgery patients. The feedback received will help us shape our research ensuring that it remains patient-centred.

Dr Jonathan Shapey, Senior Clinical Lecturer at King’s College London, Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital and Clinical Lead at Hypervision Surgical

PPI can sometimes be overlooked as a hoop that needs to be jumped through, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our PPI group even countered a change requested by the local Research Ethics Committee review of our study protocol. When we returned to the REC saying the request had been run through our PPI group and that they felt differently, REC was very happy to accept things as they were. The session was a huge benefit and a very positive experience.

Dr Oscar MacCormac, Neurosurgery Clinical Research fellow

It’s exciting to be involved in the PPI sessions and work closely with patients to get their views and opinions about our clinical studies. These sessions are always a great opportunity to share ideas and obtain valuable feedback and ensure that patient care and comfort is at the centre of everything we do.

Ms Sabina Patel, Lead Physician Associate, King’s College Hospital

For more information about what the neuroHSI study entails from a patient perspective, take a look at the study pamphlet and our patient information sheets (PIS):

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

It was also funded by the CME's large public engagement grant scheme. The scheme is now open to applications until 20 May 2022. All staff and students can apply for up to £3,000 to deliver public and patient involvement and engagement (PPIE) activities related to their research. Visit the CME website for further information and download the application form here.