May 2017


May news  


30.05.17: Cancer team to trek three mountains in 24 hours to help fund patient care centre

8eb9a9af-7f5b-437e-8700-2e401b4fa6b4A team of cancer specialists at St Mary's Hospital are to climb three of the UK's highest mountains in a single day to raise £20,000 towards a brand new patient care centre - the first of its kind in the UK.

Surgeons, dieticians and other experts hope to conquer Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike in the space of just 24 hours.

The fundraising effort will help pay for a new centre supporting patients with cancers of the oesophagus and stomach - known as OG cancers.

It would provide a dedicated space for the hospital's award-winning PREPARE team to ready patients for life-changing surgery.

The PREPARE for Surgery programme is partly funded by Imperial Health Charity and brings together health specialists from different areas of expertise to give patients the best chance of making a full recovery after surgery.

Earlier this month, the team's 10 core members were named Surgical Team of the Year at the British Medical Journal Awards and also picked up the Patient Partnership prize.

Now they are aiming to raise tens of thousands of pounds towards a dedicated care centre, which would be the first multi-discplinary, peri-operative care centre in the UK.

The team say climbing the three peaks will be a symbolic challenge, mirroring the three stages of the patient experience - preparation, surgery and rehabilitation.

Venetia Wynter-Blyth, Nurse Consultant within the team, said: "We take account of the bigger picture, shifting the focus away from the illness and giving people the confidence to take control of their functional, nutritional and pscyhological wellbeing in preparation for surgery and recovery."

Imperial Health Charity recently awarded a grant of almost £100,000 to develop the programme. The money has helped to deliver personalised support for dozens of patients before and after surgery, including physical training, psychological assessments, respiratory exercises and nutritional guidance.

A dedicated care centre for the programme would provide a shared space for patients, reducing the likelihood of long waiting times.Krishna Moorthy, the team's Consultant Surgeon, said: "Our results have demonstrated a significant improvement in post-operative outcomes. Most importantly, far fewer patients now have post-operative complications like pneumonia. The rate has fallen from 60 per cent to 30 per cent."Before, patients needed to stay around 12 days in hospital but now they are well enough to go home after eight or nine days. Many are in fact more physically fit after surgery than they were at diagnosis."

The team will begin the National Three Peaks Challenge at Ben Nevis on the evening of Friday 30 June before catching a bus through the night in time to start Scafell Pike the following morning. The climb will be rounded off at Snowdon later in the afternoon on Saturday 1 July. They hope to raise £20,000 towards the overall cost of the new care centre.

To sponsor the team, visit


26.05.17: Hospital fundraiser reunited with medics who helped save his life

IMG 8029A mechanic who raised more than £1,000 for Imperial Health Charity after surviving a dramatic car crash has been reunited with the emergency medics who helped save his life.

Storm Warner was pulled from his burning car and rushed to St Mary’s Hospital after colliding with a recovery truck on the M1 in June last year.

The 22-year-old was then transferred to Hammersmith Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery on his liver and spent a month in a coma.

It was a miraculous escape for Storm, who also suffered a punctured lung, a fractured hip, a broken ankle and several broken ribs in the crash. Doctors told him he was lucky to be alive.

Less than a year after the crash, Storm completed a sponsored solo skydive to say thank you to staff at St Mary’s and Hammersmith who provided outstanding care during his recovery.

Now he has been reunited with the ambulance team who were first on the scene and treated him just a few metres from the burning vehicle.

Storm met paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service at their station in Hemel Hempstead.

He said: “I asked everyone, what gift do you bring? How do you thank someone for saving your life? You can’t.”
Storm remembers nothing of the crash, which happened in the early hours of the morning as he drove back home to Dunstable after visiting friends in North London.

Despite warnings from doctors that he would be in a wheelchair for several months, Storm was walking with the aid of crutches within weeks.

He said he owed his life to the lightning fast response of the ambulance team, the life-saving surgery carried out by experts at Hammersmith Hospital and the attentive care of nurses who helped him recover at St Mary’s.

He added: “I feel like all the money I’ve paid into the NHS has paid off in one go. I’m never going to complain about paying my National Insurance again.

“A friend told me he thought I was gone and it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m here. I appreciate how lucky I’ve been.” 

Storm is still collecting donations for his skydive and hopes to raise a total of around £1,400 for the charity.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “It was a heart-warming moment to see Storm reunited with the medics who saved his life a year ago and I am delighted that he has chosen to show his thanks by raising money for Imperial Health Charity.

“Storm’s story demonstrates how we must never take for granted the extraordinary work that our healthcare professionals carry out on a daily basis and I hope it will inspire others to help us support NHS staff on the front line.”    


25.05.17: Sign up for Walk for Wards and support your local hospital

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Hundreds of NHS staff, patients and community supporters are expected to take part in our Walk for Wards on Sunday 9 July – covering the same distance as Big Ben to John O’Groats.

 It will be Imperial Health Charity’s biggest ever fundraising walk, raising money for Charing Cross, Hammersmith, St Mary’s, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and Western Eye hospitals.

 The route takes in the beautiful surroundings of Paddington and Regent’s Park, giving walkers the chance to explore the great outdoors while raising money for the hospital ward that means the most to them.

 Collectively, the walkers are expected to cover more than 500 miles – the equivalent of marching from the heart of the capital all the way to the UK’s northernmost point.

 With less than two months to go until the big day, we’re appealing for walkers to ‘say thank you with your feet’ and sign up for the event.

 Everyone taking part can choose to raise money for a specific ward or department within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s five hospitals or towards the charity’s More Smiles Appeal, which is funding the redevelopment of the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

 Ella Segaran, a dietician who works in the Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s, is taking part in the walk with a team of colleagues.

 They will be striding towards the finish line to raise money for the ICU, which is currently undergoing a significant expansion with the addition of 16 extra beds.

 “The work that we do is absolutely amazing and everyone is passionate about saving lives,” said Ella, who has worked at the Trust for the last eight years.

 “The majority of the work we do is major trauma so we see some quite horrendous things. But it’s incredibly rewarding to see patients getting better under our care.”

Participants can sign up for either a two or five mile sponsored walk, starting and finishing at Merchant Square in Paddington.

 Last year’s event raised more than £20,000 to help the charity fund dozens of projects for the Trust, including major redevelopments, clinical research and initiatives to improve the patient experience.

 Laura Kell, the charity’s Head of Fundraising, said: “Walk for Wards is a fantastic opportunity for everyone who has received exceptional care and support at the Trust’s hospitals to say thank you with their feet, while enjoying the beautiful waterways of Paddington and Regent’s Park.

 “Every penny raised will be put towards making sure that patients continue to experience outstanding care and treatment during their time in hospital.”

For more information about Walk for Wards and to sign up for the event, visit 

The entry fee is £10 for adults and £5 for NHS staff, children (5-17) and concessions. Under 5s can walk for free. There is no minimum sponsorship, simply raise as much as you can. However, the charity will match fund the first 100 people that sign up to take part in the walk, up to the value of £100.


 25.05.17: Children's short stories to raise money for More Smiles Appeal


A new collection of short stories by children will raise money for the new children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

The 11 winners from Daunt Books’ annual Children’s Short Story Competition have been published in a new book, available in all Daunt’s London bookshops. The collection was launched at an event at Burgh House in Hampstead on Monday night, attended by illustrator Jim Field, who also designed the cover art.

Laura Kell, Head of Fundraising at the charity said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Daunt Books have chosen to support the More Smiles Appeal. Every penny raised allows staff to save more lives and give even greater care to seriously ill children. The fact that two of the 11 winners have been treated at the unit is a testament to its far-reaching impact”.

Ottilie Burrill Smith, 8, who won with her story, Nutty the Acorn, was treated at St Mary’s Hospital when she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis at just four weeks old.

“I took her to the GP and the GP took one look at her and said ‘you need to go to hospital right now’”, said her mother, Jemima.

“Everybody was completely amazing. You have total faith that these people are going to look after your child. You’re relying on incredible nurses. It was a hard time afterwards but she got better and now she’s the healthiest most brilliant girl and super smart. She totally loves writing and this has been so amazing for her confidence.”

£1 from each purchase will go towards the More Smiles Appeal, a joint initiative between Imperial Health Charity and COSMIC to raise money for the renovation of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital. This will mean up to 200 more children can be treated there each year in a state of the art facility to match the expertise of staff. 

Isaac Amory, 10, said he was excited and happy to win the award and would like to write more in the future. His story, The Efficient Elf, is about one of Santa’s helpers in the North Pole. For Isaac, the inspiration came from close to home: “I just based it on my sister! My mum told me not to say anything to her…”

Isaac was one year old when he developed meningococcal disease and was taken to the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s. “It was terrifying, dreadful,” said his mother, Alice Thomson. “Everyone at St Mary’s was fantastic and he’s completely fine now.”
“He’s really excited by the competition. His older brother won it a couple of years ago so he’s been trying hard.”

The book costs £6 and will be on sale until December in Daunt stores in Marylebone, Holland Park, Hampstead, Cheapside, Chelsea and Belsize Park as well as the Owl Bookshop on Kentish Town Road.

To read more about the More Smiles Appeal and find out how you can support it, visit


22.05.17: Digital art by Susan Collins installed at Charing Cross Hospital

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Works by the BAFTA nominated artist, Susan Collins, have gone on display at Charing Cross Hospital.

Images from Collins’ Wembury & Woolacombe (2015-6) series are the latest art works to be installed at the hospital, where they’ll be enjoyed by patients and staff in the Acute Medical Unit. The works focus on the North and South Devon coast, where Collins recorded the view across a whole year.

Each image was constructed line by line over the time it takes for the tide to go in or out and accumulated to form an archive of the year, from which these prints are a small selection.

Susan Collins commented: “I am delighted to have these works installed in Charing Cross hospital. As well as being about healing and caring, hospitals, for patients and their visitors, are often about time and waiting. These works are also, in a different way, about time, with both time and memory embedded into the images. They also provide a connection with nature, the coast, the outside beyond the city, the hospital ward, the corridors.”

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.

Zinka Zecevic, Occupational Therapist at the Acute Medical Unit said of the works: “The art has transformed the appearance of the ward. It was a unique experience to be able to visit and speak to the artist and have access to her work and have the opportunity to select the pieces from a much wider portfolio.”

Susan Collins is currently Professor of Fine Art and Director of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. She’s been a practitioner in the field of new and emerging media art since the late 1980’s. Her work is held in many public collections, including the Government Art Collection and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. 


17.05.17: Fay Ballard exhibition comes to Charing Cross

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London-based artist Fay Ballard is the latest artist to be part of the charity’s Art in Focus collection, with a new exhibition now on display at Charing Cross Hospital.

Imperial Health Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, has organised the display which runs until October.

Ballard studied History of Art as an undergraduate at the University of Sussex and in 2006 she completed an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. In her career, she has worked at the Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts and Tate.

The works on display include three of Fay Ballard’s Memory Boxes. Each shows an array of beautifully observed objects including those found by Ballard on return to her childhood home after the death of her father, J.G. Ballard, in 2009. Other works demonstrate her interest in nature, such as Homage to Durer, a tribute to Albrecht Dürer’s masterpiece Great Piece of Turf (1503), a meticulous observation of wild flowers.

Ballard says of this exhibition: “I am delighted to be able to share my work with patients, visitors and staff at Charing Cross Hospital. Coming to hospital can be an anxious time and I hope that my drawings bring some comfort, joy and beauty. The NHS is our national treasure and what better place to exhibit than here.”

Her works have been displayed in the Huntington Library and Art Collections in Los Angeles, New Hall Art Collection and Winsor and Newton. She was commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales to paint watercolours for his estate in the Cotswolds and in 2007 was elected to the Royal Watercolour Society.

She’s also an active supporter of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and holds weekly art workshops for patients undergoing dialysis at Hammersmith Hospital. Her deep art historical knowledge and conversations with patients has led to a beautifully written and illustrated blog: 


17.05.17: Dementia Awareness Week 2017: helping our hospitals do more

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This week is Dementia Awareness Week and we’re taking a look at all the projects we’ve supported throughout the Trust for the benefit of those with the condition and the staff that care for them.

There are around 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and, due to our ageing population, this is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025. Dementia is a condition that encompasses a range of symptoms to do with the decline of the brain. This can include memory loss, difficulties communicating and changes in behaviour.  A third of people over 65 will develop dementia and two thirds of people with dementia are women.

Hospitals can be particularly disorientating and frightening places for people with dementia and Imperial Health Charity is proud to be the supporter of several key initiatives aimed at improving the quality of care for them.

Technology to help patients fall less and socialise more

The charity has funded the use of My Improvement Network technology, which provides a plethora of activities that includes games, music, physical exercises and opportunities for social interaction all contained within an All-in-One unit that is portable, compact and compliant with infection control requirements.

The technology has been in use on Valentine Ellis and Albert ward at St Mary’s Hospital since spring 2016 and involves activities on computers, television screens and tablets. It helps patients in a number of ways, including helping to reduce the number of falls and reducing the need for one to one Special Nurses. A study of patient falls on the Albert ward found that after the technology was introduced, falls dropped by 50%.

Katie Pritchard, Ward Manager on Albert ward, said: “The technology has made such a difference. It has transformed the way we deliver our nursing care to patients with dementia; we’ve even won a Quality Improvement Award recently. We would like to thank the charity for providing the funding for this equipment.” 

Creative workshops

Since July 2015 Imperial Health Charity has funded weekly creative workshops for elderly patients and those with dementia, organised by Paper Birch, an organisation that uses art and creative workshops to stimulate patients and encourage memories and thoughts.

Paper Birch run the workshops where patients are encouraged to use arts and crafts as a means of expression. “It's wonderful having such fantastic enthusiasm from the staff to make projects like this happen,” said Faith Wray, Paper Birch’s founder.

"Our workshops can make a genuine difference to patients and staff, as it gives ward staff the time to concentrate on patients who are in need of more frequent care. Alongside this, workshops can encourage mobility of patients and can totally change the atmosphere around a ward.”

Specialised support to keep patients well-nourished and hydrated

Many dementia patients find it difficult to eat and drink enough to keep themselves well-nourished and hydrated. To address this, Imperial Health Charity funded an innovative hydration and nutrition pathway to help patients consume the amount they need, which was developed by the dementia care team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The Dementia Nutritional Support in Hospital Pathway (also known as NoSH) has three tiers of care and aims to improve nutrition and hydration in patients with dementia by providing a tailored response to their needs.

All patients who are admitted to the Trust with a diagnosis of dementia are automatically placed on the first tier of the NoSH programme, known as 'core support'. Patients have their weight monitored regularly and their food and fluid intakes recorded to help the nursing team ensure they are getting all they need. Patients are also given healthy snacks providing them with access to nutritious foods on demand and sugar-free squashes to add to water to help keep their fluid levels up.

For patients who require a little more support, the team has developed the 'enhanced' and 'intensive' tiers of the programme, which include daily reviews, one to one support for patients and the use of music during meal, scientifically proven to stimulate appetite.

Nurse, Jo James, dementia care lead at the Trust said: "Good nutrition is a vital part of dementia patients' recovery and goes hand-in-hand with treating their medical needs. Our new patient centred approach to nutrition and hydration allows us to keep a close eye on patients' intake while they are on the wards, which aids a speedy recovery so they can return to their own home sooner."

Dementia-friendly ward at St Mary’s Hospital

To help patients with dementia feel safe and secure, the Witherow ward at St Mary’s Hospital was completely redeveloped with funding from Imperial Health Charity in 2016.
Key improvements on the ward include:

  • ·       specialist lighting which mimics changes in natural light to help prevent patients from being confused about the time of day by artificial lighting
  • ·       a social area where patients can eat their meals together and which is painted orange to help stimulate appetite, as many patients with dementia do not eat enough
  • ·       pictures chosen by the patients themselves and hung over their bed to help them find it
  • ·       doors painted in contrasting colours to help patients easily find the showers and toilets
  • ·       matt wooden flooring, which replaces the old shiny blue coloured flooring that could be confused by some elderly patients as water
  • ·       clocks from the Alzheimer’s Society that tell the time and date, which are known to help orientate patients with dementia.

Helping staff better understand dementia

To help raise awareness of the condition across the trust, the charity has paid for the recruitment of somebody with first-hand experience. Dianne Campbell was diagnosed with vascular dementia at the age of 47 and wants to use her diagnosis to help others. She’s been brought on board to host training sessions, providing a unique insight for healthcare staff.

The Learning From Life project has had a transformative effect on staff and many have told us that their perceptions of people with dementia have changed entirely.

At the same time, the platform has given a voice to dementia patients, putting them at the heart of the Trust’s efforts to make hospitals more welcoming for people living with the condition.

Our funding has covered the cost of Dianne’s part-time salary, providing staff training one day a week and supporting the dementia team with a range of other tasks.

For more information about dementia, please visit

To find out more about the projects we’ve supported, visit


05.05.17: Imperial Health Charity announces 2017 research fellowships

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Imperial Health Charity has approved nine research fellowships of up to £50,000 for applicants to undertake pioneering research and invest in the training and development of Trust staff.

The program allows medical and non-medical staff to undertake 12 months of out-of-programme research to develop their research skills for the benefit of patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. A total of £436,905 was allocated to a range of grants, including research into improving dialysis access for older patients and developing a urine test to diagnose oesophageal and gastric cancers.

 Gemma Clunie, a Clinical Specialist Speech & Language Therapist at Charing Cross Hospital, received a grant to study the voice and swallowing difficulties of people with airway stenosis, a rare condition causing narrowing of the airway. “I am just thrilled,” she said. “It was really unexpected. I was hopeful but you never know whether these things are going to come to fruition. It’s going to give me the opportunity to push my career down the path that I would like it to go.”

Aside from the potentially life threatening complications from the condition, airway stenosis significantly impacts quality of life. “If you’ve got a voice problem it can mean that you can’t work or you can’t do your job. Similarly if you’ve got a swallowing problem you’re probably not going to want to go out to a restaurant to eat and drink with friends. It starts to have much more of a social impact.”

“Imperial is the European centre for airway stenosis management. It’s got the biggest number of patients being treated with this condition and the surgeon who leads on it, Dr Guri Sandhu, is renowned as an international expert in the surgical techniques.”

“Our longer term aim is to try and make sure that we can disseminate some of what we do here to other places so that the care gets better all over the country, not just here in London. People are travelling a long way to come for treatment here. Longer term, we’re thinking about things like using Skype for therapy and whether that’d be appropriate to allow people to access our service without having to travel.”

Since 2009, together with our funding partner, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, the charity has made a total of 55 Fellowships totalling £2.5million.

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

Applications for next year’s research fellowships open later in the year. For additional information or guidance please contact our Grants Officer at  or call  0203 857 9844 

04.05.17: Tom Hammick installation comes to Charing Cross Hospital

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Artwork by acclaimed British artist, Tom Hammick, is the latest addition to the Charity’s art collection.

Imperial Health Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, has organised the installation of ten prints, now on display in the neuro-rehabilitation unit at Charing Cross Hospital.

The works on display demonstrate Hammick’s imaginative handling of colour and placement of figures, alone or in groups. Often working through the night, Hammick conjures dusk, dawn or moonlight with his palette of beautiful colours. The pair of woodcuts, Compound Day and Compound Night, illustrate his fascination with showing how the same building appears in different light.

Sarah Daniels, Lead Therapist at the Charing Cross Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit, said “Support from Imperial Health Charity has been fantastic over the last year.  On behalf of all of us on the unit, thank you very much for organising for us to have the Tom Hammick works. We love the prints and we hope he is pleased too.”

Hammick’s work has been displayed in public collections around the world, including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Yale Centre for British Art, and The Library of Congress, Washington DC.

In 2016, Hammick was awarded the Victoria & Albert Museum's Prize at the International Print Biennale, Newcastle, for his print Violetta and Alfredo’s Escape (2016), which has since been acquired by the V&A collections. In the same year, he curated the exhibition Towards Night at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne, which explored the nocturnal through paintings, prints and drawings by over sixty artists.

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





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