Welcome from Caroline Clarke

The Royal Free London (RFL) continues to be at the forefront of research and development – a real priority area for our trust as our experts look to develop treatments to improve outcomes for patients.

Our researchers have played a leading role in COVID-related projects over the course of the past two years and the vital work being done at the trust will help us, and our colleagues across the NHS, provide better care for those who need it. 

This work will continue in the weeks, months and years ahead and will include:
  • New COVID-19 booster vaccine research – the study will compare Moderna’s original booster with one that may protect specifically against the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
  • Research into type 1 diabetes – the study aims to help develop new treatments for patients.
Full details about these studies can be found in this week’s update.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Paul McLaughlin, a clinical specialist physiotherapist in haemophilia at the Royal Free Hospital. Paul has been named Allied Health Professional Researcher of the Year by the British Society for Haematology (BSH) and the National Institute for Health Research.

Paul was recognised for his fantastic work in recruiting more than 200 patients to clinical studies focused on musculoskeletal issues associated with haemophilia. He was particularly commended for “outstanding research work” and “for creating a supportive environment for colleagues and the wider NHS”.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

New visiting guidelines

We have introduced new visiting guidance at Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital.
Visitors will no longer have to complete the COVID-19 screening form on each visit. We are still encouraging visitors to take a lateral flow test before attending but this is no longer a mandatory requirement.
Patients are allowed one hour of visiting per day and there can be either one visitor or two visitors at the same time. Visitors can book their appointments using the online booking system on our website.
Compassionate visiting remains in place. Click here for further information.

New COVID-19 booster vaccine study at the Royal Free Hospital

Participants are urgently being sought for a new COVID-19 vaccine study comparing Moderna’s original booster with one that may protect specifically against the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The Royal Free Hospital is one of a number of sites hosting the study which is aiming to recruit 120 participants – aged 16 and over – and is particularly keen to include people over the age of 65.

Participation in this trial lasts up to 13 months and participants will receive a single dose of an investigational booster vaccine or the already authorised vaccine, Spikevax.

Full details can be found on our website.

Developing a deeper understanding of type 1 diabetes

The diabetes specialist clinical team at the Royal Free Hospital is working with researchers at the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation to help develop new treatments for type 1 diabetes.

The researchers aim to develop a better understanding of the disease pathophysiology – the changes within the body that accompany the disease.

Clinicians and scientists from across the UK recently came together to discuss the latest research developments during a meeting of the Type 1 Diabetes UK Immunotherapy Consortium.

The consortium, funded by Diabetes UK and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), comprises a network of UK-based research sites – including the Royal Free Hospital.

Further information can be found here.

New Scottish banknote features pioneering Royal Free Hospital doctor

Medical pioneer and suffragette Dr Flora Murray CBE, who trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital, has been chosen to feature on a new £100 banknote.
Bank of Scotland has unveiled the design of its £100 polymer note with the new note entering circulation on 9 May 2022.
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.

Leadership changes

Dr Chris Streather
Dr Streather, who has been the chief medical officer at the RFL since January 2018, has been appointed interim regional medical director for NHS England in London.
He will join the London team on secondment from 1 May and interim arrangements to cover the RFL chief medical officer post will be announced in the coming weeks.
New chief delivery officer
Pete Landstrom has joined the RFL as our group chief delivery officer. He joins the RFL from University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust where he was chief delivery and strategy officer.

Adult blood test appointments on Saturdays – Barnet Hospital

The blood taking clinic at Barnet Hospital is currently closed on Saturdays.
Due to a technical error, patients have been able to book Saturday appointments during April.
Affected patients are being contacted and advised to rebook their appointments. If a patient has booked an appointment for 16, 23 or 30 April, they should not attend the hospital.
Adult blood test appointments can be booked online or by phone: 020 7443 9757. The phone line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. Full details are available on the adult blood test page here.
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