Welcome from Caroline Clarke

I am immensely proud of the work being done at the Royal Free London (RFL) in our fight against COVID-19, with a record number of patients and staff participating in clinical trials.
The trust has been at the forefront of high impact COVID-19 research that has led to dramatically improved outcomes for patients with the virus. Last year, the trust undertook 56 COVID-19 studies and a further four are underway so far in 2021.
You can read more in this week’s update.
As part of NCL’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in September 2020, we temporarily closed our children and young people's emergency department and inpatient services at the Royal Free Hospital. These services have been provided at the Whittington Hospital instead.
The NHS in north central London is inviting all stakeholders to feedback on these changes by taking part in a survey. The survey will be open until 31 March and will help evaluate what worked well, what could have been done differently and to consider what might be useful to think about in the future.
The full details can be found on our website.
In this week’s update you can read about new life saving technology for patients with pre-existing heart conditions, the latest Maggie’s centre update and leadership changes at the trust.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

‘We are at the forefront of COVID-19 research’

A record number of patients and staff have been recruited to COVID-19 clinical trials at the RFL.
The trust undertook 56 COVID-19 studies in 2020 and a further four are currently underway so far in this year. A total of 1,990 patients and staff have so far been recruited to urgent public health COVID-19 studies - those considered the top priority for the country - with a further 1,335 recruited to other COVID-19 studies.
The trials to which RFL patients have been recruited include the REMAP CAP trial, the RECOVERY trial, and the Novavax vaccine trial.
Read more here.

A shockingly good solution

At the beginning of December 2020 at Barnet Hospital, Issac Williams was the first RFL patient to receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) .
This is a new type of implantable defibrillator, designed to both ‘shock’ his heart into rhythm if it should speed up and provide his doctors with real-time information.
It was inserted via a vein just below his collar bone, with leads inserted directly into his heart. The battery sits under his collar bone just beneath the skin and is connected via a smartphone app with Bluetooth connectivity, to Issac’s own mobile phone.
This lifesaving technology can resuscitate patients at risk of cardiac arrest from their heart condition.
Further details can be found on our website.

Sky News documentary

Sky News recently broadcast a series of films documenting the response of Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital to the pandemic.

Jason Farrell, Sky News home editor, spent a month with us and his films have been incredibly powerful – illustrating the great commitment of our staff and the impact COVID-19 has had on patients.

A documentary featuring extended footage from the news bulletins will be broadcast on Sky next week, including Sky Documentaries at 9pm on 25 March.

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.

Maggie’s centre at the Royal Free Hospital

The creation of a Maggie’s centre, which will provide support for people with cancer, on the Royal Free Hospital site has moved a step closer with Camden Council approving the planning application.
This follows the submission of the application in 2019 after engagement with stakeholders on the proposals.
The RFL has been working closely with Maggie’s on this exciting project, and the Construction Management Plan (CMP) for the works has been made available to view online. This includes dates for each phase of the works, the site layout and logistics. The trust has worked closely with the project team to develop this.
Please send any feedback on the CMP to by 19 March 2021.
All comments will be considered before a final plan is submitted to the council.
You can read more on our website.

Leadership changes at the RFL

David Grantham, chief people officer, will be leaving the RFL at the end of May 2021.
David will be joining Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as chief people officer as it completes a merger with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Ragini Patel, director of people, will formally act as interim chief people officer until a formal recruitment process takes place.

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