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






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



September 2023






Join us in person at St Thomas’ Hospital or virtually via Microsoft Teams for our Annual Public Meeting.  

To register, email: [email protected]


Expansion of ULEZ in Hillingdon


From Tuesday 29 August 2023, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expanded into all outer London boroughs, including Hillingdon where Harefield Hospital is located.


Vehicles that do not comply with ULEZ low emission requirements will have to pay a daily £12.50 charge if they are driven anywhere in the expanded zone.


This could mean that some Harefield patients may have to pay the charge to visit the hospital in a non-compliant vehicle, although eligible NHS patients may be able to claim a reimbursement. More information about reimbursements can be found on our website and on the TfL website.


Please note: the ULEZ zone does not cover all of Hillingdon and, as Harefield Hospital is right on the outer boundary of Hillingdon council, it is possible to drive in and out of the hospital, from outside the northern and western boundary of Hillingdon, without entering the zone. View a map of the ULEZ zones in the Harefield area, click here


Useful links:


Scrappage scheme now extended to all London residents with a non-compliant vehicle.


Check if your vehicle is compliant.



Royal Brompton clinicians first to use robotic device to help lung cancer diagnosis


Clinicians at Royal Brompton Hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital are the first in the UK to use a pioneering robotic device to biopsy small and hard-to-reach lung nodules, meaning patients with suspected lung cancer could get a diagnosis much earlier.


The new robotic technology, the Ion Endoluminal System (Ion) from technology company Intuitive, allows clinicians to insert a thin and manoeuvrable catheter into a patient’s lung via their mouth to reach lung nodules suspected of being cancerous.


With Ion, clinicians can reach and sample nodules in hard-to-reach areas with greater accuracy and precision than existing techniques, so that nodules which may otherwise have been monitored for long periods can be definitively diagnosed earlier via biopsy.


This minimally invasive approach reduces the risk for patients compared to other existing biopsy techniques where a needle would be inserted from outside the body into the lungs.


Teams from the London hospitals are participating in a clinical study which aims to determine how the technology could best help patients by diagnosing cancers at an earlier stage and benefit the NHS by increasing the number of diagnostic procedures hospitals are able to carry out. Each hospital in the study will recruit around 50 patients with small lung nodules detected on computerised tomography (CT) scans in difficult to reach areas of the lungs.


Read more here.



New national pulmonary hypertension database gets greenlight


Funding has been awarded to Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals to create a national registry for patients with chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension.


Led by Professor Stephen John Wort and Dr Laura Price, pulmonary hypertension consultants, the registry will allow the collection of data on this specific group of patients for which there is currently limited information.


Creating a registry to help understand why patients develop pulmonary hypertension and following their clinical course will enable further research and ultimately improve care. 

What is pulmonary hypertension (PH)?


PH is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs (pulmonary arteries).

This causes the walls of the pulmonary arteries to become thick and stiff, so they aren’t able to expand as well to allow blood through. The reduced blood flow makes it harder for the right side of the heart to pump blood.


With the right side of the heart working harder, it gradually becomes weaker which can lead to heart failure.


Although there are several very rare forms of pulmonary hypertension, it is more common in people who already have a heart or lung condition.


PH is categorised into 5 groups depending on the cause.


Group 3 PH is the focus of this registry and is linked to chronic lung diseases or lack of oxygen which causes pulmonary arteries to narrow. This forces the blood into a smaller space, which increases blood pressure, causing pulmonary hypertension.


This group of patients have a very poor outcome and there are very limited treatment options.


Read more here.



Clinical Research Facility at Harefield has over 30 studies under way


Our latest blog about research nursing looks at how the research nursing team is managing one of its trials on a new drug aimed at combatting heart attacks and heart diseases caused by particular types of cholesterol.


“I thought – I’m having a heart attack, but I don’t want to have it here! – so I got on my motorbike and went home…”


The patient is telling me about the time he nearly died and the time when, even in that terrible moment, his main concern was about how it would be perceived in his workplace.


“I just thought I’d never live it down. I knew I had bad chest pains but didn’t want to cause a fuss. I ended up getting an Uber to the hospital.” There, it was confirmed he had narrowly avoided a potentially massive heart attack and doctors immediately put six stents into his clogged vessels, to get the blood flowing around his heart again.


“I got discharged on Saturday and I can tell you, on Sunday I went to church, looked up, and said: ‘Thanks mate!’”


I am listening to this story in the Clinical Research Facility at Harefield Hospital, told by one of the patients who are trialling new drugs. This patient has familial hypercholesterolemia, a common enough condition, but with a twist that made his doctors interested in putting him  forward for a trial.


Read the full blog here. 


Hero porter among CARE award winners


A brave hospital porter who stepped in to help a member of the public who was greatly distressed and very fearful for their safety has received an award for his courage.


Faycal Lasri, who has worked at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for about 12 years, witnessed a serious incident and immediately stepped in to help.


Faycal, 37, said: “It was scary but at the time I didn’t think about it, I just wanted to help. A lot of people say I was stupid to get involved but I would do the same thing if it happened again.”


Dr Paul Weldon, principal clinical psychologist at Royal Brompton Hospital, also won a CARE award after being nominated by a patient’s parent. They said his work has been essential to their child’s psychological, physical, emotional wellbeing and development, and his help and support has enhanced their whole family.


Faycal and Dr Paul Weldon were two of six winners of the Trust’s latest CARE awards which are presented to teams and individuals who have shown the highest standards in courtesy, attitude, respect and enthusiasm.


The awards celebrate those who have gone the extra mile to provide exceptional care for patients, or made a real difference to the way their colleagues work. They are open to staff and volunteers from any of our hospitals and community sites, in clinical and non-clinical roles. Nominations can be made by patients, visitors and staff.


Read more here.




Harefield’s transplant ward staff nominated for Sun Who Cares Wins award


Amy Price, the mother of reality star Katie Price, has nominated staff from Harefield’s Rowan ward and others from across the hospital for a Who Cares Wins award– the Sun newspaper’s annual celebration of people working in the health sector. Amy nominated a number of colleagues in the ‘Team of the Year’ category after undergoing a lung transplant at the end of 2022.


Amy was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis - a condition where the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult - and underwent a lung transplant at Harefield last year. She spent three months at the hospital to recover and was under the care of the team at Rowan ward for much of her stay.


Staff involved in Amy’s care clearly left an impact on Amy’s positive experience of care at the hospital. Among those nominated for the team award are staff nurse Rachael McBride, porter Bob Silver, intensive care ward clerk Mark Hazell, transplant unit receptionist Lindsay Weeks, specialist critical care physiotherapist Caroline Briggs, senior physio Gemma Wood, and Kirsty Jarvis, a transplant senior sister.


Read the full article here.




Join us for the 40th Harefield Fun Run- 10 September


The Harefield Fun Run has a 40 year history of raising funds for patients at Harefield Hospital. It was started by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub in the 1980s, to encourage transplant patients to be more physically active, and over the last 40 years thousands of runners have taken part, raising vital funds to improve the care of heart and lung patients.


We have put together a video that looks back at the last 40 years of the Fun Run, including past staff, some silly costumes and a few famous faces from over the decades.


You can watch the video here.


There is still time to grab your ticket for the 40th Harefield Fun Run and Family Day. You too can be a part of Harefield fundraising history and help improve the care of critically ill Harefield patients. Grab your tickets now here.



The Brompton Fountain invites you to join them for a Congenital Heart Disease Transition Day!


This event, co-led by the CHD Nurse Specialists at Royal Brompton Hospital and The Brompton Fountain, is for those aged 14-16 years with CHD, who are seen at Royal Brompton & Harefield hospitals.


There will be a series of talks and workshops to help you better understand your transition to adult care; how lifestyle issues affect your heart condition, and where to access advice, support and know your options. The day will also be a great opportunity for you to meet other young people who live with the same condition or similar.


Friday, 27 October

Chelsea Football Club Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS

To find out more and to register, click here.





Final Reminder:

Join our Patient Forum


Improving heart and lung care for our patients


We are actively recruiting people to join our patient and public engagement group. This is a patient forum which meets virtually every two months to discuss issues of concern to members.


 Please consider joining if you are:

  • a family member or carer of people treated for heart and lung disease at Guy’s, St Thomas’, Harefield or Royal Brompton Hospitals
  • aged 18 to 35 (although we encourage anybody interested to apply, regardless of age)
  • from the global majority
  • living with chronic conditions and/or disabilities

To become a member of the PPEG, please complete the expression of interest form by 15 September.


The form will ask you how you would like to be involved and your communication preferences. We use this information to develop an active and responsive patient network to partner with staff and drive improvements to patient care.


Find out more here, including how to get in touch.



Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Annual Public Meeting


Wednesday, 13 September

6.00 - 7:30pm

To register, email [email protected]  


We hope you can join us for our Annual Public Meeting on Wednesday 13 September which is taking place in person at St Thomas’ Hospital and virtually via Microsoft Teams.


Speakers will include the Trust Chairman Charles Alexander, our Chief Executive Prof Ian Abbs, and our Lead Governor John Powell.


The meeting will feature updates on the Trust’s work over the past year and our priorities for the year ahead, including the upcoming launch of our new Epic electronic health record system and patient portal.


There will also be an opportunity for you to submit any questions you might have.


This event is open to all, so please do share this invite with anyone you think would be interested in joining.


We hope to see you on 13 September.



To learn more about your Trust membership, share your feedback or update your contact details, please contact Nancy Dickinson at [email protected]


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