A PIONEERING consultant at Musgrove Park Hospital had his ‘incredible work’ recognised after being appointed as an honorary professor.

Consultant surgeon Richard Welbourn has helped to lead the way in bariatric surgery in the region, and is now set to take on a new role handing down that knowledge to students.

Mr Welbourn said he was ‘thrilled’ by the decision. He said: “I’m thrilled to bits with this new position, which I’ll have in addition to my role as a surgeon at the trust.

“It’s even more humbling for me as the University of Bristol team doesn’t usually give out honorary chair positions, so this is a really rare feat.”

Mr Welbourn helped introduce keyhole surgery to the Taunton hospital - a procedure which is now carried out regularly. He said: “I attended an international meeting of surgeons who were involved in keyhole surgery when it was in its infancy, and one of the topics covered included using this method for bariatric surgery, something I didn’t know much about at that time.

“At that time, I was a one-person team, but we now have five surgeons at the trust able to perform this operation.”

He added: “It’s great that we have such strong links with centres such as the University of Bristol, as those sort of institutes have such vast research expertise, which can only be a good thing for us as we continue to look at bringing high profile research projects to the NHS in Somerset.”