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Swinfen Charitable Trust

The Swinfen Charitable Trust was established by Lord and Lady Swinfen in 1998, with the aim of assisting poor, sick and disabled people in the developing world. The Trust's policy is to do this by establishing telemedicine links between hospital-based practitioners in the developing world and expert medical and surgical specialists who generously give free advice via the Internet. The charity facilitates a low cost telemedicine service linking doctors at hospitals in the developing world with leading medical and surgical consultants who generously give free advice. Local doctors can send clinical photos, a patient’s history and any other relevant material (such as X-rays) to the Trust. A secure web-based messaging system is used. This system allows referring practitioners to have access to a panel of over 400 specialists in a wide range of disciplines. The median length of time between receipt of original message and first reply by a specialist consultant is currently 1.8 days. The Swinfen Charitable Trust has 181 hospital links with 458 consultants in 58 countries in the developing world and in disaster and post conflict situations. Doctors in 181 remote hospitals have immediate access to 458 consultants covering all medical and surgical specialties. The Trust is particularly grateful to specialists worldwide who have agreed to provide their expertise to assist their colleagues in developing countries. However, working with the Trust also gives specialists the opportunity to deal with many fascinating cases they would not otherwise meet under normal circumstances and provides them with an opportunity to use their expertise to directly influence the care of a patient who may be many thousands of kilometres away.