Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Last week was a hugely significant moment for our trust and our partners at UCL and the Royal Free Charity when the keys to the Pears Building were handed over.
The £60m building on the Royal Free Hospital campus, is a ground-breaking collaboration between the university, the charity and the trust, and will be the new home of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT).
None of this would have been possible without the Royal Free Charity and the incredible generosity of a number of philanthropists, including the Pears Foundation, who have supported the project from the outset.
You can read more about the Pears Building in this week’s update.
Last week we also celebrated the wonderful Royal Free Charity volunteers as part of National Volunteers week.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated volunteers, who devote their time and skills to the Royal Free London (RFL). This has never been truer than during the past year, when patients and staff have faced unprecedented challenges because of the pandemic.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Study on COVID-19 risk in patients receiving dialysis

A major study, led by doctors at the RFL, has found that face masks and the use of side rooms to deliver care can dramatically reduce the risk to dialysis patients of contracting COVID-19.
Dialysis patients are known to be at particular risk of contracting COVID-19 and, if they do, becoming seriously unwell. Specialists carried out research involving thousands of dialysis patients in London to understand if there was any way to mitigate the risk.
The findings of the study reveal that patients who were older, had diabetes, lived in local communities with higher prevalence rates of the virus and those who received dialysis at clinics serving a larger number of patients had a greater risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19.
The study, published by the American Society of Nephrology, was led by Dr Ben Caplin, a renal consultant at the Royal Free Hospital and his colleagues, on behalf of the pan-London COVID-19 renal audit group.
Further information can be found on our website.

Immunity experts to move into ground-breaking facility

Last week the Pears Building was handed over to the Royal Free Charity. It will become the new home of the UCL IIT, in Pond Street, Hampstead, one of the largest patient-focused immunology centres in Europe.

The building will be able to accommodate up to 200 researchers looking for cures and new treatments for global health problems including type 1 diabetes, cancer and organ rejection after transplantation. They will work in the most up-to-date laboratories with adjacent write-up facilities.

Our expansion of the institute will give many more of our patients the opportunity to take part in ground-breaking research. As well as providing more space for scientists to develop better treatments for cancer, diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis, and to support transplantation, the new centre will play its part in crucial research into COVID-19, helping the international effort to tackle this devastating virus.
This important work will contribute not only to the health and wellbeing of our local community but be a world-leading centre for understanding the human immune system.
The building has been designed to complement the local area, with set-back terraces on the upper levels which allow light into the spaces behind the building. Local people will also be welcomed into a community café and invited to face-to-face updates with researchers.

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.

Wellbeing matters event

Our next Medicine for Members’ event, titled Wellbeing Matters, will take place on Wednesday 16 June, from 6pm to 7.30pm.
The event will focus on how we are supporting our staff and communities and provide advice and tips on how all members can take care of themselves. Speakers include:

  • Mark Lam, chair, RFL
  • Ragini Patel, director of people, RFL
  • Tracy Parr, director of transformation, Healthy London Partnership

Full details about the event and how to become a trust member can be found on our website. You can also join us if you are not a member.

Changes to parking at the Royal Free Hospital

From 14 June, patients and visitors will be able to park in a new car park located at the main entrance of the hospital in Pond Street. The ground floor (level 0) and level 1 will be designated for patient and visitor parking.
Previously, patients and visitors were able to park in the Rowland Hill car park. This area will revert to staff parking from 14 June.

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