Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Today is the first day of a second national lockdown which will last until 2 December. During this time, our services at the Royal Free London (RFL) remain open.
We want to reassure our patients and local communities that we are here for them should they need us and encourage them to access the care that they need. We would also like to reassure those patients who have been waiting longer than we would have liked for treatment that we have not forgotten them and are working through our waiting lists, prioritising patients according to their clinical need.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily re-organised how some of our care is provided to make sure we can continue to do this safely. This will support us through the winter months and help ensure that the trust is prepared for any further outbreaks of the virus.
More details are available on our website and we would be grateful if you could share these widely with your networks.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that the first episode of the award-winning documentary Hospital filmed at the RFL will be aired on BBC Two on Monday 9 November at 9pm.
The six-part series will explore the stories of our patients and staff as the trust faces the challenge of delivering healthcare amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The programmes will focus on how our trust is getting services up and running and treating patients, who could not be seen during the height of the pandemic, as quickly and safely as possible.
This documentary is an opportunity to see and hear the stories of our staff and patients during the biggest challenge the NHS has ever faced.
Thank you for your continued support.
Kind regards

Caroline Clarke
Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Service changes

Adult out-patient blood taking service at Barnet Hospital

The adult out-patient blood taking service at Barnet Hospital has reopened for all blood tests.

An appointment must be booked for all tests. Booking details are available online. Patients will need to bring their confirmation text/email - they will not be able to enter the hospital without this.

More details are available on our website.

Re-introduction of partners to some RFL maternity services

In line with national recommendations, the maternity service at the RFL stopped all non-essential visiting in March 2020. Some of these restrictions have now been lifted:
  • one consistent partner (the same partner as in labour) is able to visit for a period of four hours on our antenatal and postnatal wards 
  • partners can stay between 9am-7pm if labour needs to be induced
  • partners are able to attend 12 and 20 week scans
To ensure we are following government guidance on social distancing, we are unable to reintroduce visiting in the following areas: triage, antenatal clinics, and maternity day assessment unit.

Read more on our website.

Temporary closure of Royal Free Hospital children and young people’s emergency department

The children and young people’s emergency department at the Royal Free Hospital has closed until further notice.

If a child needs emergency care, they should be taken to a hospital with a children and young people’s emergency department.

For more information including details on alternative emergency departments and frequently asked questions, please visit our website.

Call NHS 111 first

Barnet Hospital has introduced a new booking system for patients who need urgent and emergency care as part of the NHS 111 initiative.

Patients are being encouraged to call NHS 111 first if they think they need to attend our emergency department for an urgent, but not serious or life-threatening medical need. 

This aims to make it easier and safer for patients to get the right treatment at the right time. It means that if patients need to be seen at an emergency department, an appointment can be booked via NHS 111.

By contacting NHS 111 first – whether online or by phone – for an urgent, but not serious or life-threatening medical need, people will:
  • speak with a health care professional earlier, and get the right treatment first time
  • be able to arrange an urgent face-to-face appointment, if needed
  • avoid waiting for a long time in emergency waiting rooms
NHS 111 can also make direct appointments at GP surgeries and urgent treatment centres. They can also despatch an ambulance if the patient’s condition is serious or life-threatening.

Arrangements have not changed for people with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries, who should continue to dial 999 without delay.

This will be rolled out at the Royal Free Hospital in the coming weeks.

Find out more on our website.

Compassionate visiting: updated guidelines

We have updated our guidelines to allow for compassionate visiting in specific circumstances. Our new rules will balance the wellbeing of in-patients with necessary public health measures.

Visitors will need to follow a clear process which includes agreeing any visits with the ward manager, signing a visitor’s agreement and being screened on arrival. This will allow us to manage compassionate visiting safely.

The new guidelines cover a range of situations including:
  • a patient receiving end of life care
  • supporting someone with a mental health issue, such as dementia, a learning disability or autism
  • where the attendance of a key contact will benefit a patient's clinical condition or wellbeing (ward staff will get in touch if a visit will be beneficial)
  • one parent or guardian for a child
  • patients accessing maternity services
Further information can be found on our website.

New device could help millions with undiagnosed sleep disorder

Following a clinical trial at the Royal Free Hospital and research at Imperial College London, a device can now be used to remotely diagnose a common sleep disorder.

The AcuPebble SA100 allows doctors to remotely diagnose obstructive sleep apnoea without any need for patients to attend hospital. This could help millions of people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Read more here.

Stunning group shots of our staff

A series of photographs taken by Frederic Aranda, accompanied by interviews with our staff, have been published by The Guardian.

The group shots were taken at locations around the Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital including on rooftops, in operating theatres, staff changing rooms and in hospital stairwells. Frederic Aranda specialises in taking pictures of groups of people and has worked with Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harpers Bazaar.

Staff featured in the photos all made a huge contribution to patient care during the pandemic and include nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners, pharmacists, security staff, surgeons, intensive care doctors, anaesthetists, operations managers, therapists, catering staff and more.

Read the full story here

Pride of Britain

Three members of our staff accepted a Pride of Britain award from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on behalf of heroic NHS colleagues from across the entire nation.

Helder Lopes Landim, a porter at Barnet Hospital, Martha Sarpong, an operating department practitioner at Chase Farm Hospital, and Charlotte Greenfield, a critical care physiotherapist at the Royal Free Hospital, were presented with the Special Recognition award at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, along with three members of staff from Barts Health.

If you missed the Pride of Britain programme on Sunday, you can watch our staff accepting the Special Recognition award on the ITV hub – look out for us from 1 hour and 13 minutes in. You can also read more about Helder, Martha and Charlotte’s experiences on our website.

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.

Marsden Lecture

The virtual 2020 Marsden Lecture will take place on Thursday 19 November from 5.45pm.

The event will be hosted by the Royal Free Charity. This year they welcome Dr David Feinberg, head of Google Health, to present 'The role of health technology and innovation in delivering better care'.

During the event, attendees will hear unique insights from Dr Feinberg, whose cutting-edge work tackles our biggest healthcare challenges using Google’s artificial intelligence, product expertise and hardware.

Find out more on our website.
If you do not wish to receive these updates, please reply directly to this email letting us know.