‘Virtual surgeon’ wins prestigious Future NHS Award

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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Professor Shafi Ahmed from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London and The Royal London Hospital has won the prestigious NHS England Future NHS Award, one of 10 awards presented last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Dubbed 'the virtual surgeon', Professor Ahmed has pioneered the use of surgical technology. In 2014 he became the first surgeon to use Google Glasses to aid surgical training, transporting 13,000 people from 115 countries directly into the operating theatre at the Royal London Hospital. Trainees submitted questions online which appeared on his Google Glasses so he could answer them verbally as he operated. He has undertaken similar initiatives using Snapchat Spectacles.

Barts Health NHS Trust was also the first medical school in the world to embed innovation and entrepreneurship into the curriculum under Professor Ahmed’s leadership, with the introduction of the Barts X Medicine programme.

Presenting Professor Ahmed with the award, Dr Neil Churchill OBE, Director for Experience, Participation & Equalities at NHS England, said: “Professor Ahmed is a great example of the kind of pioneer that the NHS has fostered throughout its 70 years, benefiting both patients here and millions of others around the world.

“By using the power of technology to make contact and share his skills with countless more colleagues and students than could otherwise have been possible, he has personified the reach, inclusivity and innovation of the future NHS and so is a very deserving recipient of this award,” Dr Churchill said.

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