Tackling A Taboo Subject

A specialist team who have helped improve the quality of life for hundreds of Forth Valley women suffering incontinence after childbirth have been awarded the prestigious William Cullen Prize by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE).

The multi-disciplinary team, which includes gynaecologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, physiotherapists and the continence advisory service, is led by NHS Forth Valley Consultant Colorectal surgeon, Mr John Camilleri- Brennan.

During his time in Forth Valley Mr Brennan has pioneered and established endoanal ultrasound to diagnose and help in the treatment of anal sphincter defects. The team has also developed a protocol for the management of tears and pelvic floor disorders. Mr Camilleri-Brennan’s team was the first in Scotland and only second in the UK to introduce anal implants designed to tighten sphincter muscles.

On receiving the William Cullen Prize, Mr Camilleri-Brennan said: “This is in recognition of our work to try to improve the quality of life for many women with incontinence, which unfortunately is still a taboo subject. People are very reluctant to speak about their symptoms and often present late. People should not be embarrassed and should approach their practice nurse or GP as soon as possible as incontinence is best treated at an early stage.

“We may not be able to find a perfect cure but from living a reclusive social life we can tailor manage their condition to allow them to have a better quality of life.”

The William Cullen Prize was established in 2016 by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh to recognise excellence in teaching and/or service innovation at a regional level.  Recipients receive a unique print of a William Cullen letter from the archive of his medical consultation letters.