Zahir Soonawalla is a Consultant hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon who has over 15 years experience in this field. He is the Clinical Lead for the gallstone service at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and has organised the provision of NHS services for patients with gallstone disease. During this time, he improved the provision of gall bladder surgery at Oxford, such that Oxford now has one of the highest rates of successful day case laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the UK. Mr. Soonawalla has worked with the Oxfordshire Commissioners and has provided guidelines for them on the management of gallstones and other gall bladder problems.
Oxford is the regional centre, and the hepatobiliary surgeons at Oxford are referred patients with difficult gall bladder problems for management. Patients who suffer complications from cholecystectomy are also referred here for management. Mr. Soonawalla has a special interest in complications of gall bladder surgery, their causes and management, and has published papers on this field.
Zahir is the Deputy Divisional Medical Director and plays an important role in ensuring the quality of care delivered at OUH. In addition to clinical work, he is an Honorary Senior Lecturer with the University of Oxford. He is on the Council of the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.
You may need to see a gastroenterologist at some stage in your care. The most common reason for this is if you have stones in your bile duct that need endoscopic removal. Mr. Soonawalla works with Dr Adam Bailey who specialises in carrying out endoscopic procedures to the bile duct (ERCP). These procedures are carried out at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
The radiologists at the Nuffield Manor Hospital also carry out the specialised hepatobiliary and pancreatic radiology at Oxford University Hospital. The team, led by Dr Helen Bungay, are the designated radiologists of the HPB multidisciplinary team, and have extensive experience in this field.
Mr. Soonawalla works with a regular team of experienced anaesthetists and intensivists, most often with Dr Douglas Wilkinson. The Nuffield Manor Hospital has a 7 bed adult Intensive Care Unit, as well as a Critical Care Service with 24 hour 7 day support. This provides reassurance in providing the best possible post-operative care. Patients who may be unwell, or need a higher level of observation than can be delivered on a standard ward, can be safely looked after here.
Gemma provides secretarial and administrative support to the unit. She is very approachable and makes sure that patients receive clear communication regarding their care. She also carries a phone for urgent queries, in case she is not available at her desk at the Nuffield Manor Hospital.