Welcome from Caroline Clarke

We are pleased to let you know that the world's first Human Challenge study, which the Royal Free London (RFL) last year committed to being part of, has received ethics approval. 

The study will take place at the Royal Free Hospital. It will be delivered through a partnership between RFL, government, Imperial College London, and hVIVO, an industry-leading clinical development services business that has pioneered human challenge models based upon viral challenge. 

We are proud to be part of this important partnership which we hope will advance the world’s understanding of COVID-19. The Royal Free Hospital has a great history and tradition of treating and researching infectious diseases and our infectious diseases centre is renowned across the world for its work in this specialist area. 

You can read the latest update on our website.
I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know the Council of Governors of the RFL has announced that Mark Lam has been appointed the new chair of the RFL.

Mark joins us from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and East London NHS Foundation Trust where he is chair. I look forward to working with Mark.

He will join the trust when the current chair, Dominic Dodd, stands down later this year. 

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

RFL hits 20,000 vaccinations

We are making great strides in our vaccination programme at the RFL and have vaccinated over 20,000 people.
We have reached this milestone by vaccinating those in priority groups in line with government guidance, which includes NHS staff (from our trust and others), care home staff, patients and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
This achievement is testament to the efforts of our amazing staff.

A timeline: a look back at the past 12 months

Last week we marked one year since the first COVID-19 patient was admitted to the RFL on 9 February 2020.
It has been an extraordinary 12 months for our hospitals, our patients, and our colleagues across the NHS. Every team has had to adjust to the challenges of caring for patients during a global pandemic.
To commemorate the anniversary, we have been reflecting on some of the events from the past 12 months at the RFL including the opening of the Rainbow ward at Barnet Hospital, the roles our teams played in COVID-19 research and trials, and the beginning of our vaccine programme in December.
You can read more here.

New gamma cameras advance nuclear medicine at the Royal Free Hospital

The nuclear medicine team at the Royal Free Hospital have installed two new gamma cameras.
The state-of-the-art equipment will allow the team to focus more on their patients, as the cameras automate some of the more time-consuming processes.
The cameras are part of a long term strategy for extending the nuclear medicine service offered at the hospital, which is already the largest centre in the country for radionuclide therapy.
Further information can be found on our website.

RFL in the news

Another special report from inside the RFL was broadcast on Sky News this week. It was the third part of home editor Jason Farrell’s series looking at the extraordinary work of staff during the COVID-19 second surge. This piece looks at the work of the porters and features a patient receiving a liver transplant. You can watch the report here.

The Saturday Times Magazine has showcased the work of staff from across the RFL.

Staff were interviewed and photographed for a feature in the magazine - a follow-up to the piece they published following the first surge last year. You can read this here (subscription required).

The New Statesman published an interview with Kate Slemeck, chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital reflecting on the second COVID-19 surge. You can read the story here.

The Ham&High published an interview with Dr Sarah Bigham, intensive care consultant at the Royal Free Hospital, on her experiences of working in the intensive care unit over the past 12 months. You can read the interview here.

The Camden New Journal published an interview with Dr Mike Spiro, RFL intensive care consultant, on the journal he kept documenting the last 12 months working with COVID-19 patients. You can read the interview here.

Electronic patient record to help improve care for patients across the RFL

The RFL has launched the second phase of its electronic patient record (EPR) project.
EPR brings all our patients’ details together in one place which will give our clinicians quick access to patient records, improve efficiency, and reduce the chance of errors.
During this phase, EPR will be introduced at the Royal Free Hospital, as well as emergency departments and critical care units across the trust. EPR is already used at Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital.
Read more here.

Latest information for the public

We have a dedicated COVID-19 section on our website. The latest information for patients and visitors, and our patient resources library, can be found here. This page is continually being updated to reflect the changing situation.

Working with North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust (NMUH)

To support our ongoing collaboration with NMUH it has been agreed that Caroline Clarke, RFL group chief executive, will become the NMUH accountable officer from 1 April.

This follows the departure of Maria Kane, chief executive of NMUH, who leaves the trust at the end of March.

The new NMUH chief executive, when appointed, will report to Caroline who will remain in post as the RFL group chief executive.

New lead governor appointed

The Council of Governors of the RFL is pleased to announce that Sneha Bedi has been appointed as lead governor.
Sneha has been on the council as a patient governor since October 2017.
She will take up the role of lead governor on 1 April 2021 for a term of two years when the current lead governor, Judy Dewinter, stands down after serving her maximum tenure as a governor.
Read more here.

Mount Vernon cancer services review

NHS England is holding a series of online events which will detail the latest developments in the Mount Vernon cancer services review.

This will include recent discussions by the programme board on the preferred options for the future of the centre.

The next event will take place virtually on 23 February at 2.30pm.

Read more here.

Hampstead Green footpath closed

Work has started to reconstruct the Hampstead Green footpath between Haverstock Hill and Pond Street.
The works, which are being carried out by Camden Council, began on 15 February and are expected to take eight weeks, during which time the footpath will be closed.
Signs are in place to redirect pedestrians.
Full details can be found here.

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