Part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust





     The newsletter for Trust members with an interest in heart and lung care


      be Informed  be Invited  be Involved


       April 2021



Remembering, one year on


On March 17th 2020, a patient with Covid-19 was admitted to Royal Brompton Hospital, the first of over 450 such patients who have since been treated by our expert teams.


As the pandemic swept through the country, critically ill Covid-19 patients were transferred to Royal Brompton and Harefield from neighbouring hospitals across north west London, to benefit from the skills of our clinical teams, particularly in ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a form of life support that oxygenates blood outside the body.


Treating the sickest patients, not only in the region but across the country, has seen the critical care capacity at our hospitals swell significantly over the past year, as our specialist teams responded to growing patient demand. While some teams cared for patients severely hit by the pandemic, other teams ensured services such as transplantation, cardiac procedures and cancer surgery continued, leaving no corner of our hospitals untouched.


As we remember the anniversary of admitting our first Covid-19 patient one year ago, we mark the extraordinary efforts of our staff, whose commitment, dedication, sacrifice and bravery has never wavered.

In this film, we reflect on some of the ways our staff have come together in the fight against Covid-19.

Watch the film here.




The surgery must go on


Even during a global pandemic, it is vital that cardiac patients, especially urgent cases, get the treatment that they need. 


One year ago, during the first wave of Covid-19, we set up the cardiac hub multi-disciplinary team meeting – where clinicians from hospitals across London and the South East came together via a virtual platform, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to review patients and decide who most needs urgent treatment. At the start of January 2021, we reopened the cardiac hub during the second surge of Covid-19 so that as many patients as possible could be treated – not only emergency cases.


Reflecting on the one-year anniversary since the cardiac hub was created, Dr Shelley Rahman Haley, consultant cardiologist, writes about how, in the midst of a pandemic, the hub has helped cardiac patients get the right treatment at the right time, stressing that it is more vital than ever that patients seek medical help when they need it. Read the full blog here.

Celebrating British Science Week


British Science Week is a ten-day nationwide celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. To mark the occasion, which took place in March, we asked some of our clinical staff to reflect on some of the research projects they have been working on to address global health challenges in heart and lung care.


Click on the links below to read more.


Zainab Khanbhai, senior cardiothoracic surgical pharmacist, explains how her research in atrial fibrillation (AF) and diabetes is hoping to diagnose cardiovascular conditions in patients sooner.


Professor Sabine Ernst, consultant cardiologist and invasive electrophysiologist, reflects on her research in 3D mapping and explains and how it is enabling a better understanding of, and treatment for, cardiac arrhythmias.


Dr Siobhan Carr, consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine, tackles the subject of cystic fibrosis (CF), describing how a brand-new drug could extend and improve the quality of life of CF patients. 


Dr Anand Shah, consultant respiratory physician, talks about his research in fungal lung infection, a lesser known disease that contributes to as many deaths globally as tuberculosis and malaria. 


If you missed our recent member event highlighting heart and lung research at our hospitals, you can watch the recording here.    







Genetics lab reaches major milestone


Since launching just six years ago, the Royal Brompton and Harefield Clinical Genetics and Genomics Laboratory received its 10,000th sample in February. Beginning as a team of four in 2015 processing 200 samples, the laboratory now comprises 14 staff members, including clinical scientists, bioinformaticians, technical and admin staff.


In 2018 the laboratory joined the South East Genomic Laboratory Hub based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and today it is responsible for the genetic testing of inherited cardiac and respiratory conditions for the whole of London and South East England. 


The team was recently commissioned in the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service to be one of four providers for cardiac genetic testing, and one of only three providers of respiratory genetic testing nationally.


Dr Deborah Morris-Rosendahl, head of the clinical genetics and genomics laboratory, said: “These samples have enabled many new and confirmed diagnoses for patients and their families, only made possible due to the close working between the laboratory and our fantastic clinical colleagues.” 


See the events section below to find out about our upcoming event focused on genetics.

World Sleep Day:

tired of the pandemic or just tired? 


It has been almost a year to the day since the UK entered its first lockdown. The pandemic has changed all of our lives and naturally a lot of us are feeling a level of anxiety that we have not experienced before. For many of us, our daily lives have been changed beyond recognition and we all find ourselves tackling new challenges and anxieties previously unimaginable. However, it is not just our daily lives that have been impacted. The pandemic has also had an unexpected impact on our night-routine and sleeping patterns. 


For World Sleep Day, in March, Dr Alanna Hare, consultant physician in respiratory and sleep medicine, shared why people might not be sleeping as well during the Covid-19 pandemic and what can be done about it.  Read the full blog here.


Dr Hare runs specialist clinics in sleep disorders (such as insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome), respiratory failure and at home ventilation. She is also secretary of the British Sleep Society.

Share your views, help us improve inpatient services


We’ve launched a new section on our website that provides an overview of the different ways patients can give their feedback on their experience of care at our hospitals. Sharing your views and experiences while in our care influences how we improve our services at our hospitals. There are a number of ways you can do this, such as filling out a short survey, joining a monthly feedback meeting, or writing to us.

Find out more here.


Occupational health and wellbeing manager wins national award


Lilian Zoubiri, occupational health and wellbeing manager, has been recognised in a national awards programme. Cavell Star Awards are given to nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare assistants who ‘shine bright and show exceptional care’ to their colleagues, patients and patient families.


Lilian was nominated for the award by Felicia Cox, head of pain service, for her exceptional contribution to the roll out of Track and Trace and the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and her dedication to supporting colleagues.


Felicia said: “Lilian has worked tirelessly to continue to lead her team, support the wider staff body, co-ordinate Track & Trace and the vaccination programme, yet always makes time for those that need it. She has gone above and beyond on so many levels. It was a pleasure to recognise her contribution to the work of our two hospitals.”


Lilian started her career at Harefield in 1989 as a cardiothoracic nurse and then re-trained in occupational health, coming back in 2010. She now manages the occupational health team across both sites and during the pandemic has worked on risk assessment, shielding and lockdown advice, running the flu campaign, setting up Track and Trace and the vaccination programme, as well as business as usual and extended OH operating hours.







Upcoming events


Artist presentation with David Lemm: Creating meaningful artwork

for the new imaging centre


Wednesday, 7 April

6:00 - 7.30pm


Register to attend, please click here


RB&H Arts invites you to join David Lemm, a visual artist based in Edinburgh, who is currently developing a body of work for Royal Brompton Hospital’s Imaging Centre. David will share his fascinating journey to creating meaningful artwork for the imaging centre, inspired by local biophilia (that is, human connection to nature), patterns and textures, overlaid on the rich history of imaging research at Royal Brompton. This will also be a great opportunity for members to give their feedback before ideas are finalised for the new building.


Be inspired, get involved


Tuesday 13 April

10.00 - 11.00am


Register to attend, please click here 


Join us for this uplifting event highlighting some of the outstanding work our hospital staff, volunteers and supporters achieved during the pandemic and how you can support future initiatives. Click here to learn more. 


What a 'hybrid' model means for the future of patient care


Friday, 23 April

10.00 - 11.00am


Register to attend, please click here 


‘Transforming patient care’, ‘a hybrid model of care’ - join us to learn what this means for the future of your care. Join us to better understand these changes, learn what other developments are on the horizon, how you can help shape future services and what you can do if you have concerns about these changes. Click here to learn more. 


Infection prevention:

help us help you prevent wound infection following heart surgery


Monday, 10 May

11.00am - 12.00pm


Register to attend, please click here


Surgical site infection prevention is a national research priority in cardiac surgery. Melissa Rochon, quality and safety lead for surveillance at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals together with peers at other hospitals is leading research in this area- the Target Wound Infection Study. The Cardio-Thoracic Interdisciplinary Research Network invites you to join their free patient and public engagement webinar to learn more about wound infection, monitoring, prevention and personalised treatment.



The role of genetics in inherited cardiac and respiratory conditions


Tuesday, 25 May

10.30 - 11.30am


Further information and registrations details will be available on the member events page from the week of 6 April. Click here to view the events page.


Catch up on events you may have missed


The latest heart and lung research at our hospitals

Watch the recording here.


The Royal Society of Medicine Covid-19 series: Matters of the heart

Watch the recording here.


Free weekly yoga sessions


Thursdays, 18 March - 24 June

6.00 - 7.00pm

To join a session, click here


Hitachi Capital have kindly offered a free weekly yoga sessions.

Here's what one participant said about the yoga sessions, 'Ashtanga Yoga is a flowing sequence of exercises that you develop at your own pace and gradually improve flexibility. The most important aspect is the breathing and I am continually amazed by the calories you burn during a session and the peace and tranquility you experience.'


Events hosted by Brompton Fountain Charity


Physical activity for children and young people


Thursday, 22nd April

7:00 - 8:30pm

To learn more and to register, please click here


Easter event for families

Sunday 11th April


We’ll be welcoming children’s performer “Joe Jangles” to provide some entertainment, and then we will head to the kitchen for some Easter-themed baking (using up any chocolates that have survived from Easter). 

Royal Brompton families can register, please click here

Events hosted by RB&HH Charity


Team Hearts vs Team Lungs


Saturday, 3 April - Saturday, 1 May

Register to participate, please click here


Team Lungs have thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Team Heart to a rematch! You can do this challenge wherever you are and whatever your level of fitness. Choose Team Heart or Team Lungs and then keep an eye on your inbox for a welcome from your team captain. This will include all the information you need to get started, including your secret code to access your team’s mission website.

All the funds raised by both teams will go towards our Covid-19 Relief Fund, which will provide essential hospital equipment for Covid-19 patients needing care now and into the future.




Throughout March we received a number of nominations from members interested in representing Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals on the recently expanded Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors.


Now it time for you to have your say. Vote in the upcoming elections to have your say about who is representing the voice of members.


Elections will be open from 22 April to 18 May.


All members in the patient, carer and staff constituencies will be sent a ballot by email. If we do not have your email address we will send your ballot via post.



Your Trust membership

In the February issue we shared the exciting news that Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust had merged with Guy’s and ST Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. All current members are now members of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. We will continue to recognise the origin of your membership, sending you regular updates from our hospitals and inviting you to events focused on heart and lung care.


Patients and members of the public with an interest in heart and lung care and our hospitals will also be able to receive these tailored benefits when signing up to become a Trust member. Joining details can be found on our website.


If you have questions about your Trust membership, please feel free to get in touch with me via email,


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