Local surgeon flies to Ghana to perform essential surgical procedures

Next month a Northampton-based surgeon will lead a team on a 4,000-mile trip across the world to perform specialist surgical procedures in Northern Ghana.

Mr Robert Hicks, Vascular Consultant Surgeon at Northampton General Hospital, will be volunteering his time and services through an English-based charity, Hernia InternationalCarpenter.

Hernia International Carpenter is a charity which provides expert surgical teams to operate and alleviate suffering from Hernias in areas of the world with little or no access to this specialist surgical procedure. The team’s services are given free of charge, working in collaboration with the medical support of local healthcare workers.

In rural Ghana, Hernia International has helped repair over 3000 hernias and performed numerous other surgical emergencies so far in its 10 years of medical missions.

Repairing hernias reduces suffering, pain and in some cases prevents death from strangulation of the bowel. Most Ghanaian patients are farmers reliant on working to support their families. By having their hernias repaired, the patients are able to return to work and continue providing for their families.

Joining Mr Hicks to make up the Hernia Team will be an international team of healthcare professionals as well as several other Northamptonshire locals:
Dr Anne Smith – Consultant Paediatrician,
Dr Karen Leyden – Consultant Anaesthetists,
Mr Neil Martin – Dentist,
Ms Carolyn Easton – Maxillo-facial Surgeon,
Mr Peter Cunningham – Optometrist,
Mr Ashley Gayton – Practice Development Nurse,
Ms Katie Rivett – Registered Nurse.

Moved by stories of people suffering with a condition he repairs regularly in his day job in the UK, Mr Hicks decided that he wanted to get involved.

“It is a privilege to be involved in such a worthwhile charity,” Mr Hicks said. “Alongside a fantastic surgical team, many from Northampton General Hospital, we’ll be able to provide excellent hernia repair procedures as well as a wealth of other essential emergency treatments. It’s so rewarding that I can use my skills to improve lives in a place that otherwise has very little access to this kind of treatment.”


In addition to providing his specialist services and valuable time, Mr Hicks will be taking a supply of donated medical goods with him including hundreds of single-use surgical drapes and gowns from local Wellingborough-based health and safety solutions company, Full Support Healthcare, as well as other generous gifts from the BMI Three Shires Hospital.

“As their supplier of surgical gowns, Full Support already has strong ties with Northampton General and when we first heard about Mr Hick’s upcoming aid mission and the work of Hernia International Carpenter we knew it was something we were keen to help with,” said a representative of Full Support Healthcare.

“As a former nurse, I’ve seen how dangerous (and common) untreated hernias can be. With Mr Hicks and the team’s expertise and the new medical supplies, we’re hoping many lives will be saved.”