The GiST, issue 42


The recently opened Children’s Day Surgery Unit has further strengthened the world-leading care we provide at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. In this issue of the GiST, you can find out more about this state-of-the-art facility which has transformed the surgery experience for young patients and their families.

Did you know that Evelina London is one of only two purpose built children’s hospitals in the capital? You can read about the public consultation on the future Principal Treatment Centre for children’s cancer services for south London and the south east of England, and how you can support our proposal.

Our new electronic health records system, Epic, is transforming the way we care for patients and the new MyChart app allows patients to easily access their health record. You can read more details about how Epic and MyChart will benefit you.

We are proud to have the largest robotic surgery programme in the country, and we recently became the first NHS Trust to complete 10,000 operations using the da Vinci Surgical System. Read more about the amazing technology we use.

This issue also highlights some of the sustainability work underway across the Trust. Find out more about our sustainability work.

In History Corner, you can learn about Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, one of the most influential surgeons to have ever worked for the NHS. His long list of achievements at Royal Brompton Hospital include the first combined heart and lung transplant in Europe. Read more about his interesting story.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the GiST.

Dr Ian Abbs, Chief Executive
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Words and photos by Matt Barker, Luke Blair, Michael Carden, Sarah Clark, Alana Cullen, Azmina Gulamhusein, Maxine Hoeksma, Daisy Holden, Grania Hyde-Smith, Lucy Lisanti, Joe O’Hagan, Eloise Parfitt, Jenny Penn, Janine Rasiah, Lesley Walker and Philippa Yeeles.

Cover photo by David Tett.

Design: AYA-Creative

Print: O’Sullivan Communications

Front cover: Patient Ibrahim Mustapha, 10, outside the new Children’s Day Surgery Unit.

If you have any comments about the magazine or suggestions for future articles, please contact the communications department, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, or email [email protected]

Visit the Guy's and St Thomas' website.


NHS England has launched a public consultation which will help decide whether our region’s children’s cancer services move to Evelina London Children’s Hospital or St George’s Hospital.

Children with cancer are currently cared for at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, and some children may also receive care at St George’s Hospital in Tooting - these services currently form the Principal Treatment Centre. Some children with cancer, or who have survived cancer, also receive care from Evelina London’s specialist services.

We fully support NHS England’s view that the services and teams at The Royal Marsden need to move to a hospital that provides both intensive care support for children and other specialist children’s services. We are fully committed to working with the teams at The Royal Marsden and St George’s, to ensure continuity of care for patients and families should these services come to Evelina London.

Our proposal has been independently assessed by over 30 experts and scored higher in three out of the four areas. This means Evelina London is the ‘preferred option’ at this stage in the process.

We believe our proposal presents a once in a generation opportunity to bring together leading children’s cancer experts with our existing world-class specialist paediatric teams to create the comprehensive children’s hospital our region needs and deserves.

The consultation closes on 18 December 2023. We would encourage everybody who cares about the future of these important specialist services to share their views. Visit the Evelina London website to find out how you can support our proposal. 

Researchers at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and King’s College London have found that it is safe to use portable MRI scanners on small babies. The results from their study show very sick babies do not need to be moved for scans, meaning they can be carried out at cot-side.

The team hopes this discovery will make testing newborn babies with suspected brain abnormalities more accessible and affordable for healthcare facilities worldwide.

The study compared brain images obtained with the new portable MRI to those from a traditional fixed MRI scanner. More than 100 paired scans were conducted at the Evelina Newborn Imaging Centre, the first site in Europe to use a portable MRI scanner for newborn brain imaging.

Researchers adapted the technology so it can scan using a weaker magnetic field than traditional MRI machines, meaning it is safe to use on small babies.

The study, which was published in The Lancet's eClinicalMedicine journal, was led by two consultant neonatologists at Evelina London - Dr Paul Cawley and Prof David Edwards.

A round-up of media coverage featuring Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Southwark News

A young brain cancer patient who took part in our annual Cancer Survivors’ Day fashion show was featured in Southwark News.

Mason Morgan, 28, was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour last year and is now raising money for Guy’s Cancer Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support.

BBC News

Our story about a patient being reunited with the teams who saved his life after his heart stopped six times in one day was covered by BBC News. Student Atul Rao said St Thomas’ has become ‘a place of worship’ to his family.

Financial Times

Our maxillofacial unit, which creates facial and body prostheses for people following injury, surgery or a birth defect, featured in the Financial Times Weekend Magazine. Consultant Caroline Reed was interviewed by one of her patients.


A cystic fibrosis (CF) patient who was able to become a parent thanks to a new drug which is dramatically improving the health of people with CF wrote about the support she received from the CF antenatal clinic at Royal Brompton in Grazia. The clinic is the first of its kind in the country.

The Trust's CARE awards are presented to staff who have exemplified the highest standards in courtesy, attitude, respect and enthusiasm.

A huge congratulations to:

Musu Kallon, community staff nurse

Nominated by a colleague.

Dental nursing team

Nominated by a patient.

Dr Nigel Beckett, consultant in the older person’s assessment unit

Nominated by a patient’s relative.

Sarah Swift ward at St Thomas’

Nominated by a patient’s relative.

Suzanne Williams, head of Essentia academy and workforce

Nominated by a colleague.

Lung physiotherapy outpatient team at Royal Brompton

Nominated by a colleague.

Dr Paul Weldon, principal clinical psychologist at Royal Brompton

Nominated by a patient’s parent.

Ophthalmology outpatients team at St Thomas’

Nominated by a patient.

Katie Susser, clinical nurse specialist in the critical care recovery team

Nominated by a colleague.

Intensive care unit two team at St Thomas’

Nominated by a patient.

Faycal Lasri, porter

Nominated by a colleague.

Renal and transplant team at Guy’s

Nominated by a patient.

To make a nomination, please visit the care awards page.

We love to hear from our patients, staff and supporters so join the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

@MediCinema (from X) Jack, a young patient at @EvelinaLondon has memorised the speech given by Cinema Manager, John, at every #MediCinema screening. After days of practice, Jack finally joined John for the debut of the new double act! Well done, Jack! With thanks to @gsttnhs for their support.

@louloucrofty1 (from X) 20yrs working in this special place. I have collected a few badges, made some of my bestest friends, met so many inspirational people – but most importantly, every day I am reminded what a wonderful & precious gift life is… how lucky am I @RBandH

Paul Bettles (from LinkedIn) My daughter was born here due to potential complications and received the most amazing care. Forever grateful to all involved in bringing my happy, healthy girl into the world and for the amazing work you do for countless others.

@L1sa130466r (from X) There's nothing better than the @NHSEnglandLDN and there's nothing better than the care you receive from @GSTTnhs.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ has been selected to host a Regional Research Delivery Network for south London, as part of a national network announced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The south London Network will be one of 12 new regional National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) networks hosted by NHS organisations. The networks are being set up across the country to support the successful delivery of health and social care research in England.

Guy's and St Thomas' has a worldleading reputation for clinical research and trials. Our experimental medicine facilities and wide range of experts support our clinical teams to continue to deliver the best possible care.

In 2022/23, 15,812 people took part in 493 NIHR research portfolio studies open at the Trust.

An innovative IT platform developed at the Trust is identifying high-risk diabetes patients who are on a waiting list and enabling them to be prioritised for urgent care.

The platform flags “hidden risk” patients, whose condition is deteriorating but clinicians may be unaware. It is helping to reduce health inequalities.

George Brown, 71, has had diabetes for 48 years. He was flagged as being of higher risk and given a digital sensor to use. This connects to a phone app to monitor his blood sugar levels and flag potential issues in real time.

George, said: “I can now better manage my diabetes. The sensor and the app are very easy to use.”

Chris Spellman, director of delivery at the Trust’s Centre for Innovation, Transformation and Improvement said: “This is an excellent example of how we can find innovative solutions to everyday problems in modern healthcare, benefitting patients and clinicians and reducing health inequalities.

“We’re grateful to our partners, Factor 50, and to Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity for making this project possible.”

We are currently developing our new Trust strategy. This will shape our plans and priorities looking ahead to 2030 and beyond.

A big thank you to the 615 people who took part in our survey. Thanks also to the further 121 people who shared their views while waiting for an appointment.

Visit our website to find out what people have told us so far. Is this what matters to you too?

As a patient governor, Leah Mansfield is a vocal advocate for involving people and communities in developing the strategy.

She said: “We are really excited for patients and carers, who are our key focus, to be actively involved in shaping our new strategy.

“We really want their needs, concerns, hopes and priorities to be at its core.”

We expect to publish the strategy in Spring 2024. If you want to help us deliver the strategy, please email [email protected] or call 020 7188 6808.

Nominations for the 2024 Trust Awards are now open!

The Trust Awards recognise the most outstanding teams and individuals. They celebrate the diversity of our people and the incredible contribution that they make.

Find out more and make a nomination by visiting our website by midnight on 17 December 2023.


Lucy Lisanti finds out about a new initiative which aims to reassure young people during an uncertain time.

Two free activity books for children of heart and lung transplant patients have been launched at Harefield Hospital.

Transplant coordinator Jola Kwinta decided to create the books after realising that many children were experiencing stress and anxiety while their parent was in hospital for a transplant, and even when they were eventually discharged.

Jola said: “We are very good at focusing on the medical needs of our patients, but what I found was often getting neglected was the psychological support for family members, particularly children.

“I thought that we were really missing a trick. If we could relieve some of the stress experienced by the children, it would relieve some of the stress felt by parents. This would allow them to focus on preparing for and recovering from their transplant.”

In her spare time, Jola spent three years working on the new books with the not-for-profit publisher Get Better Books.

‘Big Bear’s New Lungs’ and ‘Big Dog’s New Heart’ follow Big Bear and Big Dog as they prepare for and recover from their transplants. They cover topics including hospital equipment and the different jobs hospital staff have, as well as how patients can stay healthy when they go home.

Children of transplant patients are now being offered the book, along with a bookbag, multicoloured pens and crocheted figurines which have been individually handmade by Jola.

Jola said: “I hope that children will keep and cherish the books long after their parent has left hospital to help them make sense of their emotions in the future.”

One of the early recipients of ‘Big Dog’s New Heart’ was eight-year-old Chloe Churchley. Her dad Paul, 41, received a heart transplant at Harefield in November 2022. While in hospital, dadof-three Paul gave Jola feedback on early editions of the activity books. aul, a bespoke carpenter from Plymouth, said: “Chloe was the most vocal about missing me while I was in hospital, and my wife and I found it quite difficult to explain to her what was going on. Even after I had my transplant and went home, she was anxious any time I had to go back to Harefield for check ups because she thought I was never going to come home again.

"The new book has been incredibly useful. Chloe has loved colouring in the different characters and has even taken it with her to school for ‘show and tell’ to explain to the other children what has been happening with her dad. It is a great relief for me that she has been able to make sense of this very traumatic period for our family and connect with her feelings.

“I have to admit, even I have learnt things about my transplant thanks to the book!”

Eczema is the UK’s commonest inflammatory skin condition. Janine Rasiah speaks to the team hoping to minimise its effect on the younger generation.

A major study is underway to investigate the impact that eczema often has on sleep and mental health in children and young people.

Eczema affects around 20 per cent of children and adolescents in the UK. It is strongly linked to severe impacts on quality of life, as well as psychological and psychiatric illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.

The ‘Mind and Skin’ programme will compare data from three groups of 12 to 18 year olds: healthy adolescents, those with eczema who only receive treatments which are applied to the skin (such as creams), and those with severe eczema who take drug treatments that change the body's immune response.

Participants will have one night of polysomnography testing, the gold standard for diagnosing sleep disorders. This is then followed by 10 nights of sleep monitoring at home using devices which can be easily worn. Other tests include skin barrier assessments and MRI scans.

The study is led by Professor Carsten Flohr, honorary consultant in dermatology at St John’s Institute of Dermatology at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

He said: “The long-term aim is to develop new strategies to help better manage eczema and the related sleep disturbance, and potentially prevent the knock-on psychological effects.”

Jasmine, 15, is one of the participants in the study. She has had eczema for as long as she can remember.

She said: “Eczema has impacted on every part of my life so I thought it would be nice to help find out more about it.”

The researchers are looking for volunteers to take part in the study. They are seeking healthy 12 to 18 year olds who have no diagnosis of eczema, do not wear braces and have no history of sleep disorders. Please email [email protected] for more details.

Top tips for dealing with eczema

By Shona Cameron, dermatology research fellow

  • Avoid soap and try to minimise contact with environmental triggers such as house dust mites, pollen and pet hair
  • Regularly apply emollients (moisturising treatments) directly to skin
  • Consider doing something you enjoy or using a mindfulness app to relieve stress!
  • If you are concerned about your skin, seek advice from your GP

Janine Rasiah finds out about the latest accolades presented to staff in recognition of their fantastic work.

The mechanical life support programme team were recently awarded two prestigious Health Safety Journal Patient Safety awards.

The team, who are based at Harefield Hospital, have developed lifesaving algorithms and a training programme to support staff during resuscitation emergencies.

They also pioneered a structured regional extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) system, a resuscitation method combining placing patients on ECMO, a machine which pumps blood through an artificial heart and lung outside the body, and delivering CPR for patients in cardiac arrest. The technique has been found to significantly improve survival rates for patients.

Mum-of-three Athlene Chaplin credits the technology with saving her life after she had a cardiac arrest at Harefield Hospital in October 2022 following a planned procedure.

Athlene, 64, said: “I nearly died, and I don’t know if I would be here now if it wasn’t for the ECMO machine and the staff who looked after me – they are like a family.

"From the porters to the specialists, I am forever grateful for the care everybody gave me. It is so important that this service has a ripple effect around the world - it saves lives."

Dr Waqas Akhtar, who is one of the developers of the mechanical life support programme team, said: “We are really proud that our work is making such a difference in improving patient outcomes. Survival rates following a cardiac arrest tend to be very low, but E-CPR greatly increases the likelihood.”

Waqas recently won two awards at the National BAME Health and Care awards. He was awarded clinician of the year and junior doctor of the year.

A former GiST cover star was shortlisted for best nurse at The Sun’s prestigious ‘Who Cares Wins’ awards. Intensive care unit sister Ginny Wanjiro was recognised for her pioneering project to provide dedicated hair and skincare for people from diverse backgrounds.

Her initiative, which was featured in issue 40 of the GiST, sourced a range of combs, hair and skincare products for intensive care unit patients of all hair textures and skin tone.

Ginny was joined by lots of colleagues at the glittering awards ceremony at the Roundhouse in Camden, including Trish McCready who nominated her. They met several famous faces, from boxer Antony Joshua to athlete Denise Lewis.

Ginny was proud to have been nominated and says winning isn’t everything. She said: “The awards gave us the chance to create awareness about our initiative. We did that, and I’m so happy.”

Following the end of Ginny’s one year pilot project, she received funding from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity to bulk buy the products. The products are now available to order from the Trust’s catalogue, which means any ward can order them.

Jenny Penn highlights some of the sustainability work which is underway across the Trust.

The Trust is committed to delivering world-leading healthcare without depleting the Earth’s resources. We also have an responsibility to our local communities to give back to the environment that we rely on. Read on to find out more about how we are reducing our impact on the planet.

Reducing single-use plastic

Hot drinks from our beverage trollies are now being served in china cups across wards at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals.

This will save 4 million cups being binned each year and is a 25-tonne reduction in plastic waste each year, the equivalent of four elephants! The switch will also save between 57 and 113 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Eros Trevisan, Essentia site general manager at St Thomas’ said: “We are proud that our more sustainable service is improving patient experience and reducing waste and costs.”

Green Travel Plan

In August, we also launched our Green Travel Plan which aims to reduce carbon emissions by making it easier for patients, visitors and staff to choose sustainable travel options.

Our targets include reducing staff journeys by car. We will achieve this through a range of initiatives, including by simplifying the expenses claim process for journeys made by public transport and investing in more cycle parking.

We are also providing e-bikes for community based staff to carry out their visits to patients.

Waste to wildlife garden

Building materials that would have gone to landfill have been used to create a colourful mini garden opposite the entrances to Guy’s Hospital and Guy’s Cancer Centre on Great Maze Pond.

A community partnership and an awardwinning landscape designer joined forces on the project which features drought tolerant plants. Hard landscaping also provides different habitats for a wide range of animals and insects.

The new space was supported by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity and named the ‘waste to wildlife garden’ following a vote by staff.

Clean Air Plan

We published our first ever Clean Air Plan with King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust in June 2023. The three year plan sets out how we will reduce our contribution to air pollution and raise awareness of the issue among our staff, patients and local communities.

Air pollution has a devastating effect on health, from low birth weight to asthma, stroke and lung cancer.

The Clean Air Plan identifies five areas of focus and 27 priority actions for 2023/24 alone. These include installing an air quality monitoring sensor at Harefield Hospital and introducing new e-cargo bikes to provide alternatives to vehicles.

To find out more about sustainability work at the Trust, visit our sustainability page.

In Focus


Guy's and St Thomas' continues to break records in the use of robotic technology. Lucy Lisanti and Matt Barker celebrate a UK first and the 10,000th time its “robotic surgeon” da Vinci scrubbed in.

The use of robotic-assisted surgery in the UK was pioneered at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and the Trust is now home to the largest robotic surgery programme in the country.

The latest lifechanging technology on offer is a robotic device which can biopsy small and hard-to-reach lung nodules, meaning patients with suspected lung cancer could get a much earlier diagnosis.

Colleagues at Royal Brompton Hospital, working in partnership with clinicians from St Bartholomew's Hospital, are the first in the UK to use the Ion Endoluminal System (Ion) from technology company Intuitive.

It allows clinicians to insert a thin and manoeuvrable catheter into a patient’s ung via their mouth to reach lung nodules suspected of being cancerous.

This offers greater accuracy and precision than existing techniques, so that nodules which may otherwise have been monitored for long periods can be definitively diagnosed earlier.

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

Professor Pallav Shah, consultant respiratory physician based at Royal Brompton, said: “We know that an earlier diagnosis of lung cancer leads to significantly improved outcomes for our patients. When we see patients with cancerous lung nodules of more than 30mm, their five-year survival rate is around 68 per cent, but if we can detect these nodules at a smaller size, when they are less than 10mm in size, we are looking at a 92% survival rate.

“This new technology is transformative as it allows us to access and biopsy nodules of less than 10mm in size in difficult to reach areas of the lungs. The chance of a cure for these patients is therefore vastly improved.”

Teams from both hospitals are participating in a clinical study which aims to determine how the technology could help patients. It is hoped that the device will help diagnose cancers at an earlier stage and benefit the NHS by increasing the number of biopsies that hospitals are able to carry out.

Milestone moment

Guy’s and St Thomas’ recently became the first NHS Trust to complete 10,000 operations using the da Vinci Surgical System.

The first da Vinci system was installed in 2004. Over the past 20 years, the robotics programme has evolved in size and technological capability. The Trust initially started using one of the early da Vinci systems to perform urological surgery, led by Professor Prokar Dasgupta.

Since then, the programme has grown to include multiple new generations of Intuitive’s da Vinci systems, across a wide range of specialities: urology, thoracic, head and neck, gynaecology, transplant and gastrointestinal surgery.

The benefits for patients include faster recovery times, smaller scars and fewer complications from surgery.

Mr Ben Challacombe, clinical lead for robotic surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Almost all prostate, kidney and lung cancer surgery is now completed robotically at our Trust. Several complex operations have been pioneered at Guy’s and St Thomas’, having never been performed with standard key-hole surgery techniques.

“We have an excellent professional team around the machines themselves including anaesthetists, dedicated robotic assistants and nurses, and highly experienced surgeons.”

Prokar Dasgupta, honorary consultant urological surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and professor of surgery at King’s Health Partners, said: “When we started robotic surgery 20 years ago we didn’t really know how big the service was going to grow. From one early robotic system to the largest programme in the UK, we have come such a long way and helped so many of our patients.”

After getting its first da Vinci robot thanks to a grant from Guy's & St Thomas' Charity, the Trust currently has five da Vinci’s, and seven robots in total.

Notable milestones have included becoming the country’s largest thoracic robotic surgery programme, and performing the first paediatric robotic surgical procedure for testicular cancer in the UK in 2021.

Maxine Hoeksma outlines the support available for patients who lose their hair as a result of cancer treatment or alopecia.

Hair is a big part of some people’s identity and losing it, particularly as a result of a health condition, can be upsetting.

At Guy's and St Thomas', patients who experience hair loss because of alopecia or during cancer treatment can receive free wigs and scalp treatments on referral. This service is available for people of all hair types, including Afro hair.

Shirley Forest, 50, has a form of alopecia, an autoimmune condition that damages hair follicles and causes hair loss. Five years ago, the hair on her head started becoming patchy and bald in places. She also experienced hair loss from her eyebrows.

Shirley has been cared for by the dermatology department at Guy’s Hospital since 2021. She accesses a range of treatment including medication, specialist shampoos and ointments.

Shirley, who lives in Brixton, said: “I depend on my wigs. Even leaving the house can be an effort if I don't feel good, because I know what's underneath.

“It's good to have the wig service because they understand what I need. I need a wig that is light and manageable so that my head is able to breathe. If I go to a regular wig shop they will say ‘try this’ or ‘get that’, but I have allergies and I don't know which wigs will set things off.”

Browns, the Trust’s wig supplier, is based at Guy’s Cancer Centre. The majority of the wigs on offer are suitable for patients with Afro hair. They include wigs with lace fronts or a parting, and synthetic and human hair wigs that can be styled with heat protection products. Aftercare products are also available to help keep wigs looking their best.

Hairdresser Natasha Gordon, who works at the wig service at Guy’s Cancer Centre, said: "We have braids, we have twists and many other styles. I'm over the moon when a patient is happy, because you see them light up.

“They may come in and they are not in the best of health or frame of mind. When the same person is saying you've changed their life or you've made them feel better, you know that you are making a difference, even if it's just for that moment.”

Georgia Sang, senior nursing assistant in the chemotherapy day unit at Guy’s Cancer Centre, said: “We want our patients to know that whatever their condition, whether alopecia or cancer, support is available to find the right options for them.

We want our patients to feel as confident as they can be throughout their treatment with us.”

Charity Cancer Hair Care runs free drop-in sessions at Guy’s Cancer Centre on Thursdays for patients receiving chemotherapy treatment. They provide advice on a range of topics including scalp cooling to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy and ways to look after your scalp. They also offer workshops on specialist headwear and products for different hair types.

Cancer Hair Care is supported by Guy’s Cancer Charity to transform care for patients through the very latest developments in personalised care. They provide tailored treatments and support our dedicated clinicians.

Jasmin Julia Gupta, founder of Cancer Hair Care, said: “We offer independent, expert guidance for all hair types including specialist guidance for Afro hair. Our specialists really know how to guide people so that they have the inner confidence to make choices."

Colin Kinloch, director of funding at Guy’s Cancer Charity, said: “Hair type, gender and age can all have a significant impact on the physical and emotional experiences of hair loss and we are delighted that thanks to our generous donors we are able to provide this vital service."

Daisy Holden explores the space-themed addition to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The new state-of-the-art Children’s Day Surgery Unit provides everything under one roof for patients who don’t need to stay overnight.

Designed with children and families in mind, the facility which is part of Evelina London Children’s Hospital has two new operating theatres and anaesthetic rooms. It also has dedicated areas for admissions, recovery and discharge.

It’s hoped the new unit will help to treat an additional 2,300 children a year. In the first four months alone, our clinical teams have treated over 550 children and young people.

To help patients feel more relaxed and at ease, and complement the natural world theme of Evelina London’s main children’s hospital building, there are specially designed space-themed artwork and light installations.

Children from across London and the south east submitted creative artwork that inspired the intergalactic interiors. Their designs were reimagined throughout the unit by Japanese manga artist Kiriko Kubo and Art in Site, thanks to Evelina London Children’s Charity.

James O’Brien, director of operations and improvement at Evelina London, said: “The Children’s Day Surgery Unit is enabling us to provide outstanding healthcare for even more children and young people, meeting their needs now and in the future. The look on the children’s faces when they enter the building makes it clear how special the facility is and how different it is from what many people would expect when entering a ‘hospital’.”

Families now spend less time waiting on the day of surgery, as pre-surgery checks, the operation, recovery and preparation for going home can all be done in a seamless way in one place.

The admission times are also staggered. Previously patients would arrive early in the morning, or at lunchtime. Now, families arrive during three time slots, allowing the clinical team to spend more time with each child.

Ibrahim Mustapha, 10, recently attended the Children’s Day Surgery Unit for a small operation. He was accompanied by his mum, Tonica.

Tonica said: “We travelled all the way from Maidstone for Ibrahim’s operation, so it was lovely to be seen in the new building. It’s bright and spacious, and we had more privacy, with our own little room to wait in. It feels really friendly and welcoming for families, and there’s lots for children to do to pass the time.”

On the ground floor is a bespoke play room, with a range of activities for children of all ages. Play specialists help to keep families entertained and to reassure them about some of the more nerve-wracking parts of their time in hospital.

Senior staff nurse Carmen Li was among those who cared for Ibrahim on the day of his visit. She has worked at Evelina London since 2019 and is now based at the Children’s Day Surgery Unit.

Carmen said: “All the patients come in and go home on the same day so it’s nice to all be under one roof – and they’re having a better experience. The cubicles give families their own space. It’s great to see them enjoying the new unit.”

Helen Harker, consultant anaesthetist and co-clinical lead of the development of the Children’s Day Surgery Unit, said: “The new unit is working as we hoped it would, and seeing our designs become a reality is really satisfying.

“Many children needing day procedures are now being treated in the new centre. This has allowed us to increase our capacity to treat children with more complex conditions in the main Evelina London Children’s Hospital building. This extra capacity will continue to benefit children being cared for now and in the future.”

Fast facts

The new Children’s Day Surgery Unit was built by Morgan Sindall Construction, designed by ADP Architecture, and engineered by Mott MacDonald. It houses:

  • Two new operating theatres and anaesthetic areas
  • Dedicated areas for admissions, recovery and discharge
  • Spaces for staff rest and relaxation, as well as changing areas and training rooms
  • Medical specialities using the centre include: urology; ear, nose and throat; general surgery; plastic surgery; ophthalmology; orthopaedics; and gastroenterology
  • There are 82 pieces of space-themed artwork

Alana Cullen shares some of the stories behind this year’s Christmas fundraising campaign.

Alfie Muller is no stranger to hospital life. He has been receiving specialist care at Evelina London Children’s Hospital from the day he was born. Now six years old and living with cerebral palsy, he is one of the stars of this year’s Christmas fundraising campaign for Evelina London Children’s Charity.

When Alfie was born he became very unwell and didn’t breathe for 20 minutes. He was rushed by emergency ambulance to the neonatal intensive care unit – known as NICU – where he spent the first six weeks of his life.

Alfie’s parents, Casey and Jamie Muller, didn’t know if their little boy would survive. However, during this incredibly scary and intense time, they knew that Alfie was in the best possible hands.

Alfie received life-saving treatment known as hypothermic neural rescue. This means his body was cooled down to 34ºC for 72 hours to help stop the brain cells that were starved of oxygen from dying, preventing long-term damage to the brain.

Alongside innovative treatments, Alfie’s six week stay was made that bit easier by the incredible staff caring for him.

Jamie said: “They were amazing - from the first day they helped explain what was happening and kept us updated at all times. They went that extra step to make a worrying time better. Alfie was in hospital for my birthday and Father’s Day, and the nurses made me cards with his little handprints.”

Alfie is incredibly cheeky, and loves to swim and cheer on his football team, Crystal Palace.

Casey said: “Although he’s not able to talk, he’s learnt how to communicate through different noises, so we know when he’s happy, excited or sad. He’s just amazing!”

Dr Charlie Fairhurst, consultant in children’s neurosciences at Evelina London, said: “We work together with his local teams to ensure that Alfie and his family are happy, secure, and comfortable, and have the best support to overcome any challenges they may face.”

Evelina London Children’s Charity helps make the hospital feel less daunting, from providing family-friendly spaces to helping fund training and equipment for play specialists.

Jamie said: “We know Alfie can get distressed when we need to leave him for treatment, but the play specialists do everything they can to make Alfie feel comfortable. He’s often so relaxed we come back to him in fits of laughter.”

Alfie’s family say they wanted to take part in the Christmas campaign to give back, and Casey will be taking part in the 2024 London Marathon for the Charity.

Casey said: “We could not ask for a better place or better staff to be looking after our son.”

Support Evelina's Incredibles

This Christmas, Evelina London Children’s Charity is asking you to do something incredible for a child being cared for at Evelina London.

While the Evelina London Children’s Hospital team help children get better, we need your help to deliver everyday incredible moments that will make this difficult time that bit easier.

Find out more about the Christmas campaign by visiting the Evelina London Charity website

Trust life

Michael Carden explains how a new electronic system will make things easier for staff and better for patients.

The launch of a new electronic health record system is helping transform how patient care is delivered across all of the Trust’s hospital and community sites.

The new system, called Epic, was switched on at Guy’s and St Thomas’ on 5 October, at the same time as King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

It was the largest single go-live of the Epic system anywhere in the world, and followed years of detailed planning by hundreds of teams from both Trusts.

Up until this point, there were hundreds of different clinical IT systems in use across both organisations. This meant information sat in lots of places, and staff often needed to log-in to multiple systems when caring for a patient.

Epic brings all this information together into one single and secure electronic system, giving staff a complete overview of a person’s care, and freeing up more time to spend on patient care. It also gives patients easy access to their health record via a new app called MyChart.

Cormac Breen, who is chief clinical information officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says the new system has the potential to deliver many benefits to patients and staff.

He said: “This is a really important and exciting moment. Our new system - and the kit that comes with it - will provide us with more complete data, better processes, and the ability to carry out observations, patient monitoring and prescribing more quickly. This means that we should be able to work much more efficiently and, ultimately, improve outcomes for our patients.”

The launch of Epic has required careful planning over a number of years. Colleagues across both trusts and Synnovis, who provide pathology services to both organisations, worked together to deliver the new system.

This included installing new technology and devices across multiple sites, the safe transfer of patient data from old systems to new, and a detailed launch plan including wide-ranging support for staff and regular communications with patients and the public.

Trust Chief Executive Professor Ian Abbs also welcomed the arrival of Epic.

He said: “The launch of Epic across Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s has been years in the planning, and delivers the technology that our patients and staff truly deserve. I am delighted that they are now able to benefit from the new system, including our new patient app MyChart, and its potential to improve the care we provide.

“I am incredibly proud of our teams, who have worked extremely hard to get this fantastic new system live – and over the coming weeks and months, I am confident we will begin to see the full benefits of Epic realised for patients, and staff."

Care in your own hands

The launch of Epic also sees the introduction of MyChart, a new app and online service that puts information about their own care in the hands of patients. MyChart allows patients to securely and easily access their health record, giving them more control over their care.

With MyChart, you will be able to:

  • find test results and letters in one, easy place
  • get more time in appointments by telling us what we need to know beforehand
  • save time travelling by having a video appointment
  • keep your medical information up to date
  • share your health record with your GP
  • support your friends and family by helping to manage their healthcare

Anyone having care at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust can use MyChart. For parents of younger children and carers of adult patients, there is also the option of requesting ‘proxy access’, which allows trusted people to help manage a person’s care.

To find out more, including how you can register for MyChart, visit our MyChart page.

Zeshan Rawn talks about his role as senior information manager for the London Neonatal Operational Delivery Network.

What does your job involve?

I support 27 hospitals across London that give sick newborn babies specialist care. These hospitals work closely together in a network, which is hosted by Evelina London Children's Hospital.

My role is to interpret and compare data about the services at the 27 neonatal units. Each unit then has an idea about how they are performing.

How do you collect and analyse data?

All neonatal units use an electronic patient record system, which allows data to be collected consistently. This gives a detailed picture about which babies come into a unit, their age and what level of care they need. The records also show if the babies are transferred to another hospital or go home when they leave the unit.

Every month, I prepare a graphical report (dashboard) of information and statistics for the Evelina London and other neonatal units. This shows if they are meeting quality measures set out in the National Neonatal Audit Programme.

What skills does an information manager need?

An information manager needs technical skills to analyse and present data using computer programmes. It is important to communicate this data clearly to a wide range of people.

Other valuable skills are critical thinking and reasoning. You need an inquiring mind to explore data and then present your findings.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy all aspects of my work and no two days are the same. It is fascinating to research data and have detailed conversations with health professionals, colleagues and commissioners.

I am inspired to work with the neonatal team at Evelina London, which has one of the busiest units in the country. They are passionate about how data can be used to improve the safety and quality of neonatal care.

Selvin Chambers, receipt and distribution supervisor for stores.

We receive around 400 packages of all shapes and sizes to Guy’s Hospital every day. I am responsible for making sure that all items reach the right department within 24 hours.

We receive a lot of cold items, such as samples for testing. We have to be really careful with these and it’s important that they are delivered promptly. Some of them are valuable and might no longer be of use if delivery is delayed. Fragile items and chemicals are also a challenge.

The bulk of our deliveries arrive on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. All deliveries arrive in the loading bay where they are scanned by a member of the team. Then another person takes them to stores for processing. The items are then delivered to the right department in cages.

It’s quite physically demanding so there is a range of mandatory training that we have to do, including manual handling.

I also receive a lot of calls and emails from departments chasing up deliveries, so part of my role involves responding to them.

I’ve worked at the Trust for about 28 years – firstly delivering linens and then sterilising equipment before moving to stores more than a decade ago.

I think that working in stores is really interesting as we constantly have to deal with logistical challenges. I expect anything to happen in this job!

History corner

Luke Blair looks at the work of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, one of the most influential surgeons to have worked for the National Health Service.

The heart and lung transplant unit at Harefield Hospital is one of the UK’s largest centres of its kind.

It was established by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, who was a cardiothoracic surgeon there from late 1969 until he retired from surgery in 2001. He was determined to push the boundaries of medicine and embrace new research, carrying out some of the first successful heart transplants in the UK at Harefield during the 1980s.

Prof Yacoub went on to perform transplants for patients who became among the longest surviving recipients in the world. They include Steve Syer, who received a new heart at Harefield in 1984 and passed away in 2022, aged 80.

The surgeon has always been passionate about helping children. He developed an operation to correct the hearts of babies born with their coronary arteries the wrong way round – at the time, a significant medical advance.

In December 1983, Prof Yacoub carried out the first combined heart and lung transplant in Europe on Lars Ljungberg, a 33-year-old Swedish journalist. His lungs and heart had been so badly affected by disease that a combined transplant was the only way he could survive.

The operation was a success and Lars’s new heart and lungs worked perfectly. Sadly, other organs including his kidneys started to fail and he died two weeks after the operation. But Prof Yacoub was able to build on and improve the combined operation, and many other patients later survived as heart and lung transplants became routine.

The professor received many awards for his work. He was knighted in 1992 and later became a member of the Order of Merit. In 1999, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his scientific achievements.

Bringing heart surgery to the developing world has also been a key focus for Prof Yacoub. As a result, he is now a household name in his home country, Egypt. He established a new heart hospital in Aswan in 2009 and is involved in a new centre of excellence in Cairo.

Prof Yacoub first vowed to become a heart surgeon after watching his aunt die of heart disease in her early twenties. After studying medicine at Cairo University, he moved to Britain in 1962.

His story is told in a new book, “A surgeon and a maverick: the life and pioneering work of Magdi Yacoub”, written by Simon Pearson and Fiona Gorman.

Prof Yacoub remains a champion of the NHS and, at the age of 87, continues to work as a consultant and ambassador for the benefits of transplant surgery.

Fast facts

  • Almost 3,000 transplant operations have taken place at Harefield
  • Harefield has the best long-term heart and lung transplant survival rates in the UK
  • Harefield has the UK’s largest ventricular assist device (or ‘artificial heart’) service

Foundation Trust life

Katherine Hamer explains why she was inspired to become the Trust’s first deputy lead governor.

The Council of Governors ensure that patients, local people and staff members have a say in the running of Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Katherine Hamer was 25 years old when she became a public governor representing the rest of the country in July 2022. As one of the youngest governors, she aims to speak up for her peers.

Katherine first became interested in becoming a governor when she attended a presentation about the Board when she was part of a patient panel. She had previously received a range of treatment at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and a family member had received care at Royal Brompton Hospital.

“I knew the Trust quite well so being a governor is a nice way to give back,” Katherine said. “I really like being part of the community – every one cares. We are all from different backgrounds and it is really nice that we are actually quite representative of our patients. We listen to each other and are passionate about making things better.”

Katherine has a background in digital healthcare and now works as a project manager in the NHS.

She became the Trust’s first deputy lead governor in spring 2023 following an election. The new role was introduced as a trial to support the lead governor, and has since been made permanent.

Since taking on the additional responsibility, Katherine has set up a new series of ‘triangulation’ meetings. These bring together different strands, including sharing feedback from ward visits and analysing data, to create a coordinated plan of action. She has arranged an away day to discuss the direction of travel and brought back the membership working group, which hadn’t met since before the pandemic, to focus on engagement with local groups including schools and underrepresented communities.

Katherine, who lives in Surrey, said: “Our aim is to get to the heart of making the hospital experience better, encourage students to work for their local hospital and for local residents to engage with changes being made.”

The governors are your elected representatives. Elections to the Council of Governors will be held in spring 2024. There will be 19 vacancies across 8 constituencies. Find out more by calling 020 7188 7346 or visiting our membership page.

Transplant patient Vijay Luthra shares his reasons for becoming a member after receiving ‘outstanding’ care at Guy’s.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ counts on its members for feedback, local knowledge and support.

Membership is made up of patients, carers, staff and the public, and members can make a real difference to the way services are developed.

Vijay Luthra, 44, had a renal transplant at another hospital before becoming a patient at Guy’s in 2016.

He opted to continue his care at Guy’s even after moving from London to Surrey, and has been a member for the past seven years.

Vijay said: “The care at Guy’s has always been outstanding, even during the pandemic with all the additional pressures. The reason that I have stayed at Guy’s is a reflection on the team being excellent and providing outstanding care.”

Vijay attends the renal clinic three or four times a year for a range of checks including height, weight and bloods. He praises the way in which different clinical teams work in a joined up way.

As Vijay is on immunosuppressants, he has an elevated risk of skin cancer. Vijay visits the specialist renal dermatology clinic once a year and the team ensures that this appointment is on the same day as his renal check up to avoid multiple trips.

Vijay said: “I encourage everybody who is a patient or carer to become a member. I think it’s important to be informed and participate where we can."

To become a member call 020 7188 7346, email [email protected] or visit our membership page.

Sign up and help us shape your services

We involve patients, carers and Foundation Trust members in planning, designing, improving and monitoring the services and care that we provide.

How to sign up

You can sign up to our mailing list and tell us what interests you. We will get in touch when there are opportunities to get involved.

To sign up, visit the patient and public involvement page on the Guy's and St Thomas' website.

Current opportunities

Right now, we're looking for patients and carers to join our Youth Forum and our Parent and Carer Forum. To find out more and to get involved, please email [email protected]

Other opportunities

You can also help us to improve our:

  • heart and lung services
  • cancer and surgery services
  • local community health services

Events and activities

We involve people in different ways, such as workshops, interviews and advisory groups. Some events are held online and others face-to-face. We will adapt activities to help you take part wherever we can.

If you have any questions, email [email protected] or call 020 7188 6808.

For all the latest news about our amazing fundraisers and how you can support us, follow @GSTTCharity on Twitter and @RBHCharity on Twitter and like the GSTTCharity Facebook pageevelinalondonchildrenscharity Facebook page and RBHCharity Facebook page.

Last updated: January 2024

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