The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has visited the major trauma centre at St Mary’s Hospital to learn more about the Youth Violence Intervention Programme, which aims to tackle youth gang violence.
The project brings specialist youth workers from Redthread, an organisation that has experience helping children and young people change their risky lifestyles, into the major trauma centre to connect with the victims and perpetrators of violence.
The Youth Violence Intervention Programme is the result of a partnership between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Redthread and Imperial College Healthcare Charity which has helped partners and funders work together to make the initiative possible. It is joint-funded by Imperial College Healthcare Charity; the Home Office; the boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster; Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC); The North West London Major Trauma Network; and other third sector partners.
During the tour the mayor found out more about the work being done to help young victims of violence. He was shown round the St Mary’s A&E resuscitation area and the major trauma centre.
The Youth Violence Intervention programme engages with young people involved in dangerous behaviour when they are most vulnerable, for example, while being treated after being assaulted, providing a critical opportunity. This ‘teachable moment’, when the young person needs help and may be willing to engage, is an invaluable chance to enable these individuals to make positive steps away from their current lifestyles. Once a relationship has been built, the youth worker team offers a variety of on-going support based on the varied needs of young people.
Imperial College Healthcare Charity chief executive, Ian Lush, said: “We are proud to support our partner charity, Redthread, through our St Mary’s Hospital Major Trauma Centre Appeal. The Youth Violence Intervention Project is making a huge impact on young people’s lives in London and most importantly, the team are transforming young people’s futures.
“We have also recently given a grant of £3.2 million to improve the facilities at St Mary’s A&E. This work will bring the environment up to a standard which better reflects the very high quality of the clinical care provided. We are pleased the charity has been able to make this significant investment in the Trust’s facilities.”
Also visiting the hospital was Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. She led a roundtable discussion bringing together police, health and community safety professionals to discuss the barriers and opportunities for tackling knife crime in London.
Dr Asif Rahman, consultant in adult and paediatric emergency medicine at the Trust, said: “I welcomed the opportunity to show the Mayor of London the work that we are doing in partnership with Redthread to help young people who have been victims of violent crime and gang-related sexual violence and exploitation.
“We in the hospital are in the ideal position to utilise that teachable moment when these young people come in as emergencies and are willing to listen and engage. We want to help them break that cycle of violence and stop them being involved in potentially damaging behaviour to themselves and others. We want to form a bridge from the hospital into the community, supporting these young, often vulnerable people when they leave the hospital and hopefully make them stick with community programmes to ensure they leave a life of violence and hopefully don’t come back in a worse off state.”
A recovering alcoholic is taking part in a five mile charity walk to thank the hospital that saved her life.
Selina Norfolk was treated at St Mary’s Hospital in June 2015 after developing life-threatening problems with her pancreas caused by years of excessive drinking.
The 54-year-old interior designer, who has been sober ever since, has made a full recovery and is set to take part in Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s Walk for Wards to raise money for St Mary’s Hospital on 17 July.
“At the time I didn’t realise how poorly I was, but I was at death’s door,” she said.
“My lungs, kidneys and heart were failing. I remember being taken to the high dependency unit and I asked the nurse if I was going to die. She replied ‘we’re doing everything we can for you’.”
Selina, who lives in Paddington, was diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes inflamed over a short period of time, which can result in life-threatening complications, such as multiple organ failure.
In severe cases where complications develop, there's a high risk of the condition being fatal. In England, just over 1,000 people die from acute pancreatitis every year.
“When my symptoms started, I thought I was having a heart attack,” she said.
“I was due to see a counsellor about my drinking for the first time that afternoon and when I got to hospital I told them I thought I was alcohol dependent. I was drinking at least a bottle of wine a day.
“I was in hospital for three weeks and when I came out I just thought I’m not going to drink again. If I have one drink it will kill me,” said Selina.
“I’m taking part in this five mile walk for Imperial College Healthcare Charity because I wanted to show my gratitude to the team at St Mary’s. Walk for Wards struck me as a really positive way to do something for myself as a recovering alcoholic.”
Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises funds for the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, including St Mary’s, Charing Cross, Western Eye, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and Hammersmith hospitals.
Patients, their families, hospital staff and the public are invited to join the charity’s Walk for Wards event starting at 1.30pm on 17 July. The event will see dozens of people walking either a two or five mile circular route starting and finishing in Merchant Square next to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
People who take part can choose exactly which ward or hospital the money their money will help.
The charity will match up to £100 raised per person for the first 250 people to sign up.
Registration is £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, NHS staff and children aged 5 -16, under 5s are free.
To sponsor Selina, click here.
For more information or to take part in the event, click here.