Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Next week will mark one year since the first COVID-19 patient was admitted at the Royal Free London (RFL).

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, and reflecting back over the year it is striking to see how different things have become – both inside and outside of our hospitals. Our thoughts are with those families who have seen the devastating impact of this pandemic first hand.

Throughout this period our partners and communities have rallied around us to ensure we have been supported. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you - we are truly grateful.

Our staff have been outstanding and they continue to show how dedicated they are to delivering the very best care to our patients in the most challenging of circumstances. Over the past two months we have stepped up our response to deal with a second surge, seeing hundreds of staff redeployed or giving up time to work extra shifts.

We have been privileged to be a window into the world of the NHS, most recently on Sky News. It has given us the chance to showcase many of our amazing staff, from our cleaners to our healthcare professionals and mortuary team. You can read more about this below.

Looking ahead, the vaccine rollout brings hope. We have opened vaccination centres at all of our main hospital sites and vaccinated over 18,000 people in the top four priority groups. 

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Service changes

Home birth services and Edgware Birthing Centre

Home birth services have restarted and Edgware Birth Centre has reopened.

Please advise women to contact their midwife for more information about the centre/options on where they can give birth.

Details about Edgware Birth Centre can be found here. More information about our home birth services can be found here.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial shows positive results

Results from the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial, which included over 600 participants recruited at the Royal Free Hospital, have shown that the vaccine is 89.3% effective in preventing the virus.
The data from the phase 3 study also shows that the vaccine is effective against the new COVID-19 variant that started spreading across England last November.
The vaccine now needs to be approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who will assess whether the vaccine meets robust standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Read more here.

Call NHS 111 first

Please continue to encourage members of the public to call NHS 111 first if they think they need to attend our emergency departments for an urgent, but not serious or life-threatening, medical need.
NHS 111 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.
Find out more on our website.

RFL in the news

Sky news is currently filming across the trust and have broadcast two reports highlighting the devastating impact of the virus. You can watch them here and here.

Sky will continue filming for the next two weeks; we will share further reports in future updates.

Cat Dobison, a paediatric therapist, featured on File on 4 on BBC Radio Four this week. She talked about her experiences about being redeployed to Barnet Hospital intensive care unit (ICU), supporting the adult therapy team and general ICU team. You can listen to the programme here.

New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario also visited Barnet Hospital to document the pandemic and speak to staff. The article can be viewed online.

Kate Slemeck, chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital, has also spoken to the Ham & High newspaper about the pressures facing the hospital. You can read the interview online.

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.

Governor elections 2021

We are recruiting three governors; two patient governors and one public - rest of England governor. Only members of the trust are eligible to stand as a candidate.  Find out how you can become a member here.
The deadline for receipt of nominations is Monday 15 February and voting will begin on Thursday 4 March.
More information including the role and responsibilities of a governor can be found on our website.

Congratulations to our pioneering nurse

Dr Jo Wilson, consultant nurse palliative care, has been selected for a pioneering nurse award by St Christopher's Hospice. She is one of 30 nurses from around the world who have been celebrated for their commitment to palliative care and changing the experience of people approaching the end of life.
Jo has been recognised for her contribution to palliative care through her work as a clinician, teacher, leader and academic. In particular, she is praised for her contribution as lead author of Care After Death: Guidance for staff responsible for care after death.
You can read Jo's story on the St Christopher's Hospice website here.

RFL in-patient meal menus

To improve patient experience, in-patient meal menus are now available for all patients to view on our website.
This change was made following helpful feedback from a patient, who shared with us that due to COVID-19 infection control measures, he was not able to hear meal options available when read out by staff.
Patients can now view our menus on their mobile or be shown the menu on a tablet.

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