« All News & Opportunities

8th November 2023

Bringing a ‘research culture’ to west Wales – by a ‘grumpy’ colorectal surgeon

A consultant colorectal surgeon working at ‘the smallest hospital in the country’ has shared his research passion, and the impact that research can bring at the Health and Care Research Wales annual conference 2023.

Unlike most surgeons who are not involved in research, Dr Simone Sebastiani has always been passionate about research even though he did not have time and the team to do it.

With funding support from Moondance Cancer Initiative, Dr Sebastiani successfully set up his research portfolio on colorectal cancer research to nearly 600 patients in 18 months in Hywel Dda and cultivated a ‘research culture’ in the hospital and health board.

Dr Sebastiani said he thought he would have the time to do research when he became a consultant. He then realised that there’s a lot of responsibility and it was quite difficult for him to find the time to do research when he got there.

He said: “The place where I work is the smallest and possibly the most rural hospital in the country. It is the last place you would expect to do research.

“But when I met our research team, their passion injected more enthusiasm in me. I also realised that next to the hospital, we have Aberystwyth University which is very active in research, with state-of-the-art laboratories.

“Then I got the Moondance Cancer Initiative who funded two half days every week for me just to do research to help increase the number and spread of bowel cancer patients offered the chance to participate in clinical trials.”

With the resources all in place, Dr Sebastiani started his research journey.

He added: “We know cancer units that are active in research have better patient outcomes. This is why we want to push for a cultural change, and get units to start doing research.

“We’ve built up a research culture in our hospital and health board and a network with other institutions. We hope to continue this and get us all doing research.”

Watch the TED-style talk of Dr Simone Sebastiani.

MediWales Supporters:

Subscribe to our Mediwales newsletter