Latest News


Latest news

30.11.17: Donate to the Wishing Tree Appeal and help families in crisis this Christmas

IMG 0752Imperial Health Charity has launched its Wishing Tree Appeal for Christmas 2017, raising money to support hospital patients and their families facing financial crisis this Christmas.

Every penny donated to this year's appeal will go towards the charity's hardship fund, which awards emergency grants to help patients and their loved ones.

The money we raise will be used to help cover household bills, food and clothing costs, as well as travel and accommodation fees so that friends and family can be there to offer much-needed support while patients are in hospital.

Last year the hardship fund awarded a total of £74,000 to help dozens of patients cover sudden and unexpected costs arising from their time in hospital.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: "The hidden costs of supporting a loved one while they are staying in hospital can quickly stack up, making it extremely difficult simply to be together during this difficult time.

"Please dig deep and help us support patients and their families who are facing financial crisis this Christmas."

To make a donation towards the appeal, call 020 3640 7766, email or visit   

You can also donate £5 to write a personal Christmas message, which we will hang from one of our Christmas Wishing Trees outside each of the Trust's hospitals - Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, St Mary's and the Western Eye. Visit for more information.

15.11.17: Creative course helps patients socialise and develop their artistic skills

IMG 8776Patients are becoming more confident in making art thanks to a creative course that helps them express themselves and get to know each other.

The monthly Art and Wellbeing Course, organised by Imperial Health Charity, features a variety of workshops, designed to help patients develop their artistic skills and enhance their wellbeing and recovery.

A recent workshop brought patients to the St Mary’s A&E to visit the new commissioned artworks by Emma Haworth and Chris Orr RA, before trying their hand creating their own landscapes using ink painting and collages.

Suzanne, one of the workshop regulars, believes initiatives like this can make a huge difference:

“I used to go to a lot of art classes but it’s been quite difficult since I was diagnosed with cancer. The course really helps and I find art therapeutic. I like to be part of a group and I like being instructed and being taken into bits of art that I haven’t done before.”

The workshops offer guidance for patients to help them gain confidence with different art styles. Suzanne believes the community that’s formed around the course is an equally important part of it:

“It’s now become a social thing as well. We’re able to relate to one another. A lot of us are struggling with life and our conditions. You don’t need to talk about it here but you understand that everybody is in a similar situation.”

Kate Pleydell, Arts Officer at the charity, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to patients. These workshops are a brilliant way for them to build their confidence, see wonderful works of art and do something surprising and stimulating in the hospital.”

“We often hear first-hand from staff and patients just how much of an impact art can have and this course is something that we’re extremely passionate about.”

The course takes place from 2-5pm on the first Saturday of each month with workshops held at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals. Anyone interested in joining should contact the charity’s Arts team by emailing or phoning 020 3857 9843.

14.11.17: Runners make record time to help friend saved by pioneering stem cell therapy

runnersHitting the wall is a tough test for any runner - but when Dave Brown and Mark Raphael put themselves through the pain barrier at the Belfast Half Marathon, they had a special motivation to reach the finish line.

Dave and Mark completed the 13.1-mile challenge in support of their friend Jonathan Hamilton, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and recently underwent ground-breaking stem cell treatment at Hammersmith Hospital.

"Jonathan has had a challenging time as his condition has progressed," said Dave. "He has been in and out of hospital for consultations, treatment and recovery. Throughout this time he has spent extended periods away from home, his loved ones and his boys, Freddie and Harry."

Jonathan's condition affects his central nervous system. He has mobility problems and walks with to straighten his gait. He also suffers from poor vision, caused by damaged nerves in his brain and spinal cord.

Thanks to the outstanding care of experts at Hammersmith Hospital's haematology department, Jonathan is showing signs of improvement after undergoing stem cell therapy. He finds it easier to walk, is less fatigued and is more alert generally.

One of only a few dozen patients to have received a haemaopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) at Hammersmith, Jonathan is among the first to benefit from the new treatment.

The procedure involved transplanting a special type of stem cell extracted from Jonathan's own blood back into his body while his immune system was suppressed using chemotherapy.

Mark added: "Time will tell how successful this has been but the signs are positive. He is enjoying spending time with his family and he is growing stronger by the day."

To show their appreciation for the team which is helping Jonathan manage his condition, Dave and Mark set out to support The Blood Fund. The pair raised more than £5,000, breaking their own personal best times. 

Their contribution will help fund pioneering research at Hammersmith as well as improvements to the hospital environment for patients with blood disorders.

Inspired by Dave and Mark's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at

07.11.17: Mother completes cycle challenge to thank hospital staff who saved her son

ruby8A mother whose baby was saved by doctors at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital has raised more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity by completing a 35-mile cycling challenge.

Ruby Danowski had experienced a normal pregnancy up until baby Vaughn arrived - but a drawn-out and complicated birth left her newborn struggling with a series of complications triggered by his birth asphyxia, which restricted the flow of oxygen to his brain.

Thankfully, Vaughn was in good hands. Experts in the hospital's neonatal unit were able to provide first-class care, helping him survive those challenging early days.

A crucial MRI scan after 10 days in intensive care showed that Vaughn's brain was functioning normally - and he is now a happy and healthy little boy.

"The hospital provided a private room for me so I could visit him round the clock," said Ruby. "And when our fragile family felt overwhelmed with fear, the support and care of the nurses and consultants kept us strong."

Ruby took part in the Thames Bridge Bike Ride last month, cycling the 35-mile route and raising more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity.

We will make sure the money Ruby raised goes straight back to the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, so that other mothers in her position continue to receive the best possible care.

Ruby added: "The NHS caught us the moment things went wrong and continue to support us and countless other families."

Inspired by Ruby's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at

01.11.17: Applications for 2018/2019 research fellowships now open

NHS UCLH DAY 2 LAB 0135 10083Applications for next year’s research fellowships open on Wednesday 1 November, awarding staff up to £50,000 to undertake pioneering research and prepare for further study.

The programme, managed by Imperial Health Charity, allows medical and non-medical staff to take part in 12 months of out-of-programme research to develop their skills for the benefit of patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

This year, £436,905 was awarded to nine fellows in a range of fields, including research into improving dialysis access for older patients and developing a urine test to diagnose oesophageal and gastric cancers.

Eilbhe Whelan was one of the recipients, receiving £50,000 for research aiming to identify women at high risk of gynaecological cancer.

“I’m thrilled and excited to have been awarded a research fellowship,” said Eilbhe. “I feel so lucky to be here because there’s a huge network of people working in one area that will be really helpful to me.”

“The project is relatively labour intensive with regards to recruiting patients. Having the fellowship means I can do my research and analysis without having to worry about clinical commitments.”

Imperial Health Charity and its funding partner, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, have awarded 55 fellowships totalling £2.5 million since 2009.

The research fellowships are open to anyone employed by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust who plans to undertake their proposed research project for the benefit of Trust patients or the surrounding communities.

Applications close on January 31 and those successful will be notified in Spring 2018. For more information about the programme and how to apply, visit our research fellowships page.

You can get in touch with the charity grants team by emailing or phoning 020 3857 9847.

30.10.17: Imperial Health Charity first to trial contactless donation technology at St Mary's Hospital

22641918 10159428487865331 550491749 oImperial Health Charity has introduced a contactless donation unit at St Mary’s Hospital in London – the first time the TAPTOGIVE™ technology has been used in a UK hospital.

The charity partnered with tech start-up GoodBox, which has developed the unit with its own payment processing technology.

It enables patients and other hospital visitors to make an instant £5 donation to the charity, which raises money to support the five hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The portable GoodBox unit has been installed in the children’s outpatients department at St Mary’s as part of an initial trial. A smaller table-top contactless giving device has also been trialled at fundraising events.

The charity is planning to introduce additional GoodBox units in targeted locations across the other four hospitals it supports – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and the Western Eye.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “This is a very exciting time for NHS charities. We are seeing more and more people willing to support their local hospitals through cash donations and with the 70th anniversary of the NHS coming up next year we believe contactless giving will enable even more people to give back.

“We are delighted to be partnering with GoodBox to introduce a box in the children’s outpatients department at St Mary’s Hospital this week and we look forward to rolling out the boxes across the other hospitals we support in the coming months.”

The standalone box installed at St Mary’s features bespoke artwork tailored to the charity’s cause. It is designed to replace traditional glass coin boxes and counter-top collection jars.

25.10.17: Gallery visits helping neuro-rehab patients with their recovery

IMG 8677Group visits are helping neurological rehabilitation patients get out of the hospital and experience some of London’s best exhibitions.

The quarterly trips, organised by Imperial Health Charity, give patients experiences they might otherwise miss, help them to socialise and keep their minds active.

A recent visit to the Royal Academy of Arts included a guided tour of the Jasper Johns retrospective and a group discussion about what they’d seen.

Pippa Kirby, a Speech and Language Therapist in the neuro-rehab unit at Charing Cross, believes that the visits make a huge difference:

“One patient who came has very severe cognitive problems. She generally finds it very hard to engage in any task or activity for longer than about 15 minutes and generally in conversation gets distracted and can’t stay on topic.”

“However, at the RA she was absolutely captivated. She loved the paintings. She gave her opinion on them, compared them, asked to see some of them a second time. I’ve never seen her so engaged with something.”

Patients in the unit can suffer from a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, brain tumours and multiple sclerosis and often have lengthy stays which can leave them feeling lonely and, in some cases, delirious. The accessible visits provide a change of scenery and can leave a lasting impression.

“It’s this kind of activity which really enriches people’s experience of rehab, lifts their mood, and helps them feel more optimistic about the future. We very much hope to have many more similar trips in future.”

Mariko, a patient in the unit, echoed Pippa’s praise, saying: “I love going to galleries but because of my health I have difficulty moving. I really enjoyed it and it’s very inspirational that the hospital patients now have the opportunity to visit. I really want to do it again!”

Another patient said: “I thought the curators who took us around were very good. Jasper Johns is not an easy artist to understand so having someone who could reveal what was going on was tremendous. Everybody I’ve told that we had this opportunity said how very fortunate we were.”

The initiative is one of many arts projects that the charity has supported to benefit patients including craft workshops for dementia patients, art therapy for stroke patients and art workshops for those undergoing dialysis.

For more information about our engagement programme, visit

16.10.17: Spread a Smile named best charity at The Sun's health awards

Spread a Smile Who Cares Wins 2One of Imperial Health Charity’s partner organisations has been recognised for its work with seriously ill children, taking home an award at The Sun’s inaugural Who Cares Wins Awards last week.

Spread a Smile was presented with the Best Charity award by The Sun’s agony aunt Deidre Sanders at a ceremony on Wednesday for brightening the days of sick children with entertainers. 

The awards, hosted by Lorraine Kelly, celebrated the unsung heroes across the health profession who excel in improving the lives of patients.

Imperial Health Charity has funded Spread a Smile’s regular visits to St Mary's Hospital since 2016, where musicians, face painters, fairies and therapy dogs provide fun and games to keep kids calm and entertained in what can be a frightening situation.

Spread a Smile’s co-founders, Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker, said: "We are completely thrilled, delighted and humbled to win the best charity award from The Sun and it's wonderful to get this recognition for our work."

"We don't cure these young people but we do have one simple mission - that is to make them smile for just a moment, to distract them from their pain and illness and make them feel like any other child.”

To find out more about Spread a Smile, watch The Sun’s video about their fantastic work or visit 

04.10.17: Artwork by Brian Eno comes to Hammersmith Hospital

IMG 7206Works by the acclaimed artist and musician, Brian Eno, have gone on display at Hammersmith Hospital.

Imperial Health Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, has organised the installation of four vivid prints in the Nuclear Imaging Department.

The works focus on the possibility of light, with lenticular images giving an illusion of depth and animation. As you walk past, the forms within the work begin to move and the colours begin to intensify and fade, bringing the 2D work to life.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at the charity, said: “We’re really excited to be able to display Brian Eno’s work at Hammersmith Hospital. These striking prints are a fantastic addition to the charity’s art collection and have a tremendous impact on patients and staff alike, as well as transforming the hospital environment.”

“We’re grateful to Paul Stolper for helping to realise this installation and for generously donating one of the prints”.

The charity is a keen advocate of art in hospitals and manages a collection of over 2000 art works at the five Trust hospitals. A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment.

In addition to his prolific music career, Eno has exhibited internationally, including at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 2009 he was invited to exhibit on the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

To find out more about the charity’s art collection, visit

03.10.17: Schwartz Rounds giving staff a safe space to share and reflect

IMG 6597Working in a hospital environment comes with its own challenges, sometimes causing a huge emotional impact on staff.

That’s why Imperial Health Charity has been a keen supporter of the Schwartz Rounds, helping to fund regular sessions for staff to reflect on their experiences and help them process stressful situations in a calm, supportive environment.

The sessions, held at the three main Trust sites and part-funded by the charity, give staff an opportunity to share concerns and experiences and reflect on challenges they’ve faced. 

A recent Schwartz Round focused on the Grenfell Tower fire and featured staff who helped care for the victims.

Dr Anu Mitra, a Consultant emergency physician who was on duty in A&E as people from the fire were brought to St Mary’s, said: “I found it very helpful to hear stories of how others found it tough. It was reassuring to me to see that I wasn’t alone.”

“Although there were many people at the Schwartz Round it still felt very intimate and private, and so I felt comfortable sharing.”

The Rounds started at the Trust in June 2015 and have had more than 1,800 attendances. Staff feedback showed that 97% would recommend the Schwartz Rounds to a colleague and 83% felt they gained knowledge that would help them care for their patients.

Dr Neill Duncan, Consultant in Renal Medicine and Clinical Lead for the Schwartz Rounds, believes that the sessions can be particularly valuable in the wake of major incidents.

“The thing about the Grenfell Tower fire was that we feel very strongly that we’re part of the community of West London”, he said.

“You saw the families on the TV and the terrible pictures of the tower and you thought ‘that’s West London, those are our people!’ and those were the kinds of things that came out from this particularly impactful Round.”

“People feel engaged and have a sense of kinship that they’re part of a bigger whole; they feel valued and have a better level of understanding of each other. It’s very candid, people tell their story in a very open way and they open themselves very personally.”

Schwartz Rounds continue regularly on all main sites and welcome all staff, clinical and nonclinical, students and trainees, and healthcare colleagues working in neighbouring community settings.

The next scheduled sessions are:

Friday October 20 - St Mary's 3-4pm

Thurs November 9 - Hammersmith 3-4pm

Monday Nov 20 - Charing Cross 1-2pm

Monday Dec 4 - St Marys 1-2pm

For more information about the Schwartz Rounds, contact

02.10.17: Apply now to volunteer with Imperial Health Charity as a Hospital Host

Joan DonaldImperial Health Charity is on the lookout for friendly and compassionate volunteers to take up an important new role welcoming patients to our hospitals.

We are recruiting a team of volunteers to become Hospital Hosts at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye hospitals.

As part of the role, volunteers will be the friendly first point of contact for patients and their families as they arrive in outpatient waiting areas.

The role involves providing information, assisting with directions and offering an ear to listen, helping visitors feel relaxed and reassured.

We are looking for individuals who can volunteer for between two and four hours on a week day, either weekly or fortnightly.

The Hospital Hosts will provide an essential extra level of support for NHS staff working in our busy outpatient waiting areas, which are used by patients who are attending hospital appointments without the need to stay overnight.

Matt Hatt, a Volunteer Manager at Imperial Health Charity, said: “Currently the Trust receives over 1 million outpatients per year, making these areas some of the busiest in the hospitals.

“We believe that volunteers can offer a huge amount of support to our patients, visitors and staff, providing up-to-date information as well as companionship and reassurance during a challenging time.”

Imperial Health Charity manages the volunteering programme at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, as well as supporting its five hospitals through grants, arts and fundraising.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to apply for the role. The deadline for applications is Monday 13 November.

To download the role description and application form, visit


Charity Week: The Staff Arts Club visits Frieze Art Fair

Thanks to Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s Staff Arts Club, a group of lucky Trust staff enjoyed a very special day at the Frieze London art fair recently.

The hugely successful Staff Arts Club is run by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and offers Trust staff free access to paid exhibitions at several of London’s most popular galleries, including the V&A, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy, as well as exclusive chances to win tickets to events such as Frieze London.

The renowned international contemporary art fair takes place annually in an enormous temporary structure in Regent’s Park, and the special day included an artist-led guided tour of the fair highlighting some of the key galleries and artworks on display. 

Staff Arts Club member Craig Wah Day, who works as an e-commerce assistant at St Mary’s Hospital, said: It was a fantastic day. The tour was really informative, the guide was lovely and it was nice to learn about the art in more detail, something that would’ve been lost if you were just walking around. I had no idea a lot of art on sale will only be seen there and people travel from all over the world for it.”

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist, Suzanne Vizor, said: ‘It was nice to be introduced to the Frieze by a knowledgeable working artist as our guide. Her insight was invaluable making the day a fantastic experience, so  thank you to the charity.’

The Staff Arts Club started less than 18 months ago and now has more than 1600 members. Previous Staff Arts Club events this year include an exclusive curator’s talk at St Mary’s Hospital on sell-out exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy, a private curator’s tour of the V&A’s Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, plus numerous opportunities to go to private views at these museums and galleries.

Lucy Zacaria, head of arts at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said “So many members of Trust staff have fed back to us about how much they enjoy being able to visit so many different galleries and exhibition which would normally cost a lot of money. The Staff Arts Club’s popularity has continued to grow this year and we’re really excited that we can continue to bring new and unique creative experiences to hospital staff.”

The Staff Arts Club is free to join if you are a member of Trust staff. You can sign up on the charity’s website:

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