Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Earlier this month, I joined with leaders across the NHS in a clear message: violence and aggression towards staff will not be tolerated.
Our NHS colleagues up and down the country have shown incredible courage and dedication over the past two years. However, many of them are confronted with violence and aggression from patients and members of the public simply for going to work.
I have joined my fellow chief executives across London in signing an open letter thanking our colleagues for their efforts and commitment and reminding patients and visitors that increasing levels of abuse towards them is simply unacceptable.
This is an issue that the Royal Free London (RFL) takes very seriously – abusing our staff is never okay.
You can read the letter here.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Routine testing in emergency departments for HIV, hepatitis B and C

Patients attending emergency departments at Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital who need a blood test will be routinely tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C from 4 April. This is part of a national programme to increase earlier detection and provide life-saving treatment.
All patients over the age of 16 years who visit a London emergency department, including those at the RFL, will be tested for these blood-borne viruses if they need a blood test, unless they choose to opt out. Patients can opt out by telling a member of staff in the emergency department.
The testing has been introduced as part of the Government’s commitment to reducing HIV transmission to zero by 2030 and is recommended by Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Public Health England and NHS England.
Patients will only be contacted if they test positive during the routine testing programme. They will be asked to attend the Royal Free Hospital for confirmatory testing and follow-up treatment if necessary.
Read more here.

Genetic study gives insights into severe COVID-19

The world’s largest study of the genetics of critical COVID-19 has revealed new details about some of the biological mechanisms behind the severe form of the disease.
Involving more than 57,000 people, including RFL patients, the study has
identified 16 new genetic variants associated with severe COVID-19, including some related to blood clotting, immune response and intensity of inflammation.
These findings will act as a roadmap for future efforts, opening new fields of research focused on potential new therapies and diagnostics with pinpoint accuracy.
More information can be found here.

RAPSODI trial recruits first 2,000 participants

The RAPSODI Parkinson’s disease trial, a nationwide study led by the RFL, has hit its initial target of 2,000 participants and hopes to recruit 2,000 more.
The study aims to understand more about the link between Parkinson’s and a gene mutation which causes Gaucher’s disease.
Those who would like to take part should visit the RAPSODI or PD Frontline websites. Participants must be over 18 years old and a resident of the UK.
Full details can be found on our website.

Enhanced care unit to open at Barnet Hospital

An enhanced care unit (ECU) is due to open at Barnet Hospital next week.
The ECU will treat patients who do not need to be seen in intensive care unit (ICU) but need an additional level of care to that provided on a ward. This includes those with sepsis, renal failure and those who have had a diabetic or neurological emergency.
The unit will open in phases with the first four beds due to open on 4 April. A further seven beds will then open at a later date.
Read more here

Catch up on BBC Hospital: ‘Road to Recovery’

The extraordinary staff and patients of the RFL returned to BBC Two last week in a special episode of the documentary Hospital.
The one-off episode charts the incredible journeys of patients and the staff who are caring for them as the trust grapples with the challenge of recovery following two years of the pandemic.
The episode gives the public a chance to see some of the incredible work that is happening at the RFL and demonstrates our commitment to delivering the very best patient care.
You can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer.

Working together to understand long Covid

An estimated 1.3 million people in the UK are experiencing the enduring symptoms of COVID-19 ranging from 'brain fog' to heart palpitations, and breathlessness.
Two years into the pandemic, RFL consultant respiratory physician Dr Swapna Mandal, John Hurst, professor of respiratory medicine, and Shanaz Ahmad, clinical trial practitioner share what we know about the virus.
Further information can be found here.

RFL team scoops partnership award

Last week, the RFL innovation and intelligent automation team were presented with the Best Healthcare Provider Partnership Award alongside software company Blue Prism at the HSJ Partnership Awards.
The team won the award for their work in delivering automation to more than 45 organisations, including shared services and clinical departments across the NHS.
They have been able to save more than 300,000 hours worth of time for 45 trusts across the country automating more than 200 processes across a variety of departments, releasing clinical time and capacity to allow staff to focus on patient care.
Read more 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.

Seeking patients and carers at Barnet Hospital to join new advisory group

We are recruiting members for our Barnet Patient and Carer Advisory Group (BPCAG) and are interested in hearing as many views as possible from current and past patients at Barnet Hospital.
In addition, we are also looking for those caring for patients and parents or guardians of
children who are receiving treatment at Barnet Hospital to join the group. Members will meet six times a year to share ideas on how patient care can be improved.
This will be an opportunity to:

  • help shape and improve our services through patient and carer experiences
  • share ideas on future changes members think would be beneficial
  • ensure that patient and carer voices influence the way we work

Further details about the BPCAG can be found here

A41 Edgware Way and M1 bridge refurbishment works

Transport for London will be undertaking refurbishment works on the A41 Edgware Way bridge over the M1 and Network Rail lines from Friday 1 April to Monday 25 July. Refurbishment to the underside of the bridge on the M1 motorway will continue until Thursday 18 August 2022.
The works will involve some full road and lane closures.
Due to the refurbishment works, we advise those visiting our services to check local travel reports and allow extra time for travelling to appointments.
Full details can be found here

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