The GiST, issue 43


Our brilliant @home service was the first of its kind in England when it launched 10 years ago. The team supports patients to receive care in their own homes, allowing them to return home sooner or avoid hospital altogether. Read more about the @home service.

In other news across our organisation, one of our patients treated at Harefield Hospital has become the world’s longest surviving heart transplant patient. Bert Janssen was just 17 years old when he received his transplant in 1984 and continues to live life to the full. Learn more about this world record patient.

We recently held our Trust Awards for the first time since 2018. The event was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate our outstanding staff who work day in, day out caring for our patients. Read about the winners.

Long COVID patients have helped create a series of short videos to support fellow patients with their recovery. Find out more about the animations.

This issue also includes advice on how to strengthen your bones, no matter what your age. Learn more about protecting your bones.

In History Corner, you can learn all about the MediCinema at Guy’s Hospital which recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

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 Alana Cullen, John Deehan, Azmina Gulamhusein, Maxine Hoeksma, Daisy Holden, Lucy Lisanti, Janine Rasiah, Sara Ronzi and Lesley Walker

Cover photo by David Tett.

Design: AYA-Creative

Print: O’Sullivan Communications

Front cover: @home senior nursing practitioner Sandra Okiemute Enaigbe.

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.


A new rapid blood test that could diagnose and monitor patients who are at risk of sepsis is being trialled at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It is responsible for 48,000 deaths a year. There is currently no test to diagnose it.

The new test, which is being trialled in the UK for the first time, uses patient blood samples to identify high levels of DNA fragments associated with sepsis within just 45 minutes. It is hoped that the test will help clinicians to identify the sickest patients more quickly and respond faster to prevent a patient getting worse.

The study will test 450 patients with sepsis or septic shock in the intensive care unit over the next year. If successful, it could also help make it easier to plan admissions and discharges from critical care.

Critical care consultant Dr Andrew Retter, who is leading the study, said: “Being able to spot those patients most at risk of sepsis using a simple blood test would be a major development, and could save thousands of lives every year.”

Two members of staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ were recognised in the 2024 New Year Honours List.

Professor David Edwards, consultant neonatologist at Evelina London Children's Hospital, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). He was recognised for his services to health research. Over his 40-year career, David has made an enormous impact on the survival and quality of life of newborn babies in neonatal units around the world.

Moses Ayoola, Director of Estates and Facilities, was made a BEM (British Empire Medal). Moses, who is currently on secondment to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, was recognised for his services to leadership in the NHS. He has championed patient experience for the past 20 years.

One of the Trust’s most well-known patients, Tony Hudgell, became the youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour. Turn to page 8 for more information.

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

The Times

Our High Intensity Theatre (HIT) lists, which tackle waiting lists by maximising efficiency, were featured in The Times Magazine. The initiative, which was inspired by a Formula One pitstop, involves carrying out one type of procedure on a large number of patients.

The Times Health Commission included rolling out HIT lists nationally as one of its 10 recommendations to improve the NHS

Evening Standard

A landmark study which showed that severe asthma can be controlled with injections was covered by the Evening Standard. The study was led by Professor David Jackson, head of the Severe Asthma Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

South London Press

A cancer survivor who walked 50km along the Thames in one day to mark the 50th anniversary of his mum’s death was featured in South London Press. Steve Weiner, who was treated at Guy’s Cancer Centre and is a former non executive director for the Trust, has raised almost £50,000 for Guy’s Cancer Charity.

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:

Dawn Mangani, senior medical technologist

Nominated by a colleague.

Urology team

Nominated by a patient.

Teresa Galli, midwife

Nominated by a patient.

Faduma Mohamed, agency community staff nurse

Nominated by a colleague.

Post prostate surgery team

Nominated by a colleague.

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.

@phil_woods (from X) I am quick to criticise hospitals, so it is only fair that I should praise when they do something exceptionally well. Outpatients today: no waiting, training from nurse, quick chat with consultant. From walking in to leaving: half an hour! @GSTTnhs Thank you.

John Oliver (from LinkedIn) I currently attend cardiac rehabilitation sessions at St Thomas’. I cannot stress enough how essential to my wellbeing these classes are, both for the exercises but also for the talks that are given by the team, or other professional clinicians. My sincere thanks goes to the dedicated members of the team.

@ISanzgomez (from X) Grateful for these enriching weeks at @GSTTnhs! Special thanks to @benchallacombe and all the team for welcoming me and sharing their knowledge. Super busy robotic programe and a great chance to explore all the good in this city! See you soon, London! @GuysUrology.

A garden project designed to support patients recovering from amputation to be physically and mentally active has won a national award.

Lambeth Community Care Centre received an NHS Forest award for innovative development of green space at health sites. It is home to the Trust’s amputee rehabilitation unit which supports over 100 patients a year.

Tatiana Timon, from Camberwell, had amputations to her legs below her knees and her arms below her elbows in June 2022, after contracting malaria while on a holiday dance trip in Angola. She spent six months in the unit in August 2022.

Tatiana, 36, said: “The garden at the unit is a lifeline. I enjoy looking after plants and watching them grow so having a beautiful garden to look out on to from our balconies helped lift my spirits and keep me going.”

Gardener and rehabilitation assistant Joe Scoble, who runs weekly gardening sessions, said: “The patients often have their families over in the afternoon. It’s wonderful to see them showing people what they’ve sown that day and what they have managed to achieve.”

A rapid genetic testing pilot is being rolled out to more hospitals and their patients, following a successful trial at the Trust.

The study has trialled new technology which fast tracks diagnosis for patients with suspected respiratory infectious diseases. This enables faster and more accurate treatment.

The test identifies and sequences the genetic data from all bacterial, viral and fungal micro-organisms which might be causing the infection, with results back within 7 hours. Unlike other tests, metagenomic testing picks up everything that is present not just what you are looking for, or what you think may be causing the infection.

Data from the pilot suggest that it can help improve treatment for almost half of patients. It is hoped that this work will help track the spread of respiratory diseases and prevent new outbreaks.

The trial is being expanded, thanks to a combined £3 million investment from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and NHS England.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, recently visited the laboratory at St Thomas’ to see the test in action.

NHS England has announced that Evelina London Children’s Hospital has been chosen as the future location for the Children’s Cancer Centre for south London and the South East. This means it will provide specialist cancer treatment centre for children aged 15 and under living in south London and much of south east England.

The change in location will mean that the new service meets national guidelines which require a children’s intensive care unit to be on site. This helps reduce transfer risks and stress for children and their families. It also allows centres to offer more innovative treatments, where the chance of requiring intensive care support may be higher.

Evelina London teams will work with The Royal Marsden and St George’s hospitals, which provide the current centre, as well as patients, families, and other partners to ensure a smooth handover and continuity of care for patients.

The service will move once everything required for the future centre is in place. This will be October 2026 at the earliest.

NHS England leaders chose Evelina London Children’s Hospital to be the future children’s cancer centre following a rigorous process which included a 12-week public consultation and evidence from experts.


Cutting edge surgery is changing lives. Daisy Holden discovers more.

A specialist team at Evelina London Children’s Hospital has become one of the first in the world to use a new life-changing deep brain stimulation device.

Deep brain stimulation in children and young people has been pioneered at Evelina London for over 20 years. It is used to help ease uncontrollable muscle movements, spasms or severe muscle stiffness, known as dystonia.

The operation involves electrodes being implanted into the deep areas of the brain that control movement. The electrode wires are connected to a pacemaker-like device under the skin of the abdomen. This sends continuous electrical impulses through the wires to change the way electrical signals are processed in the brain.

The new rechargeable device has unlimited lifespan due to new battery technology. Previously the battery would need to be replaced every 14 to 15 years, which resulted in patients needing to have further operations.

Sean, 14, was the one of the first patients in the world to have the new rechargeable device fitted. He was the first at Evelina London, where the team includes paediatric neurosurgeons from King’s College Hospital.

Sean, who lives in south London, has cerebral palsy which causes uncontrolled muscular movements and spasms. He has been treated at Evelina London since he was 7. It’s hoped deep brain stimulation will relieve some of the stiffness that causes his discomfort and limited mobility.

Thanks to the new device, clinicians will also be able to access real-time data from the site of deep brain stimulation in the centre of the brain for the first time. They will be able to track patients’ brain rhythms and to tailor electrical impulses to improve their movements.

Dr Jean Pierre Lin, consultant paediatric Cutting edge surgery is changing lives. Daisy Holden discovers more. neurologist for the complex motor disorders service at Evelina London, said: “It’s hugely exciting to have undertaken our first deep brain stimulation surgery with this new device. This will also help us to understand more about the signals in a patient’s brain and how they affect movements.”

Mandah, Sean's mother, said: "We hope this new device will help Sean to live a full, happy life and experience pain free movement. "

An innovative pilot is bringing care closer to home. Janine Rasiah finds out more.

Physiotherapy is being offered in gyms and leisure centres to help make it easier for patients to access care.

The innovative 18 month pilot in partnership with ukactive, the UK’s trade body for the physical activity sector, combines the expertise of the Trust’s specialist staff with high quality gym equipment.

Patients can receive musculoskeletal rehabilitation and therapy services at three sites, benefiting from more space and a much wider range of equipment.

The initiative also lowers transport costs for patients by reducing travel time to and from appointments. Early data shows that the pilot has reduced ‘no shows’ by an average of 6 per cent.

As an added bonus, patients are able to use the wider gym facilities – including pool, sauna and steam room facilities – for free on the days that they are attending physio services.

Dance teacher Samantha Babooram is among those who have benefited from the trial. She injured her knee whilst practising a complicated dance move in December 2022. It got to a point where she could hardly walk, let alone dance.

The sessions changed my life.

She originally took part in group sessions at Guy’s Hospital, but found the one-to one sessions she received in the summer at Castle Leisure Centre far more productive as she was able to lift weights and do plyometrics, a type of exercise training that uses speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. The gym was also more convenient for her to get to from her part-time job as a dance teacher and choreographer at a school in Baker Street.

Samantha, 38, said: “The sessions changed my life. When you go to the hospital, there’s only so much you can do whereas the gym was amazing as it’s really easy to progress.“They were very kind and supportive when I was freaking out that my progression was up and down. They really tailored the exercises to my goals which included being able to spin and dancing in heels again!”

The pilot has been made possible thanks to funding from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. Jenny Heal, project lead and clinical lead musculoskeletal physiotherapist, said: “By making it easier for patients to access physiotherapy closer to home, we are providing support which should lead to a better quality of life, as well as a reduced burden on the NHS. We really hope this initiative can be rolled out more widely across the Trust,”

Janine Rasiah finds out about a new online resource which is helping patients with their recovery.

Long COVID patients have helped design a series of 10 short videos to support fellow patients with their recovery.

Called the ‘COVID Recovery Puzzle’, the animations reflect how recuperation can feel like putting the pieces of life back together again. Videos can be watched in any order with the four ‘corners’ of the puzzle being most crucial to wellbeing – boosting sleep, relaxed breathing, food for recovery and energy recharge.

Top tips include planning rest periods before you feel tired and using a traffic light system to assess symptoms ahead of carrying out an activity.

The videos are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese on the Trust’s YouTube channel. They have been created by clinicians and participants in the South East London Long COVID programme, a two-year initiative funded by NHS Charities Together and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity.

Mum-of-two Stephanie Schreiber, 48, caught COVID in March 2020. It took nearly a year before her condition stabilised and she started to see improvements. She had difficulty returning to everyday activity and suffered multiple symptoms including fatigue and chest pain.

Stephanie, who lives in Bromley, said: “I hope that we have made Long COVID a lot less frightening and showed that recovery is possible as there are a lot of myths and some negativity online when you are looking for support. If the videos had been there for me, I might not have pushed myself so hard and tried to return to my everyday household chores, work, and exercise too quickly.

If I had even known half of what’s in the videos at the start of my illness, I wouldn’t have got as bad as I did.

Dad-of-two George Apunte, 43, caught COVID for the third time in April 2022. He tried to return to his job once the isolation period finished but this made his ongoing symptoms a lot worse. He ended up being signed off work for almost a year.

George, who lives in Lambeth, said: “If I had even known half of what’s in the videos at the start of my illness, I wouldn’t have got as bad as I did. I wanted to help create these videos to help others and ensure that they don’t struggle the way that some of us did.”

All five NHS Trusts in south east London and their hospital charities joined forces to create the South East London Long Covid Programme. It aims to accelerate the recovery of Long COVID patients who live in this area.

Daisy Holden speaks to the fracture liaison service about how to strengthen your bones, no matter what your age.

Three million people in the UK have osteoporosis, the health condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break. However, many people do not know this until they break a bone.

Jude Powell and Molly Khosla are clinical nurse specialists in the fracture liaison service at St Thomas’ Hospital. They provide support to patients following diagnosis, offer tests to look for potential causes of the condition and discuss possible treatments.

The service offers bone health reviews and bone density scans for patients over the age of 50 who have recently had a low impact fracture, where a bone has broken after falling from standing. They also offer scans to patients who have weakened bones due to another health condition.

Jude said: “Your bone density levels peak around your early 30s, so there are lots of things you can do to protect your bones at any age. A common myth is that osteoporosis is a condition that just affects the elderly.”

A common myth is that osteoporosis is a condition that just affects the elderly.

Molly added: “We know that women are more likely to be affected due to hormonal changes, but around 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to the condition.”

Ruth Sunderland was recently treated by the team after being diagnosed with osteoporosis after breaking her shoulder from a fall during a run.

She said: “I found the diagnosis shattering at first. I consider myself to be fit and healthy in my 50s, and osteoporosis wasn’t something that I had even considered.

“Jude and Molly have been a huge source of support and reassurance, and have given me the confidence to keep running as it’s a big part of my life. I’m keen to show people the reality of osteoporosis is different for every person and to remove any stigma that surrounds it.”

If you think you may be at risk of having osteoporosis, please speak to your GP in the first instance.

Top tips

  • Take Vitamin D supplements from October to April
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Eat plenty of calcium through foods such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, tofu and dried fruit
  • Do regular weight-bearing or whole body resistance exercise, such as tai-chi, gentle weights and aerobics
  •  Limit alcohol intake and stop smoking.

In Focus

Alana Cullen reports on an incredible patient who has been recognised for his out of this world support.

He might be only nine years old, but Tony Hudgell is already Evelina London Children’s Hospital’s biggest ever fundraiser.

Tony has been a patient at Evelina London since he was a baby, receiving life-saving care at just a few weeks old. He had both legs amputated in 2017 and had his first prosthetics fitted two years later. Aged just 5, he decided to fundraise for Evelina London Children’s Charity by walking every day of June 2020. His determination captured the heart of the nation, and he raised £1.8 million.

To thank him for his amazing work, he was honoured with a special ceiling tile in the new space-themed children's day surgery unit that half a million pounds of his fundraising has gone towards. The tile shows Tony as an astronaut – complete with his crutches, prosthetic legs, and a name badge. He was also given a souvenir version of the tile and an engraved brick from the building to take home.

The tribute was a surprise, with Tony finding out during a tour of the new unit. ony said: “I’m so happy and proud.”

Paula Hudgell, Tony’s mum, said: “It was absolutely wonderful to visit the children’s day surgery unit and see the surprise on Tony’s face when he saw himself as an astronaut. Evelina London saved his life and it means so much to us.

“I could not be prouder of our boy - his strength and determination brightens our every day - and we hope his fundraising helps bring smiles to all the children who walk through the hospital’s doors.”

Evelina London saved his life and it means so much to us.

The new day surgery unit has already cared for 1,180 children since it opened last year. The increased capacity means that the hospital can treat up to an additional 2,300 children every year.

Tony’s surgeon, Mr Michail Kokkinakis, said: “Tony’s out-of-this-world fundraising continues to make a positive difference to the children we care for at Evelina London. Thanks to his determination, we can bring smiles to the faces of anxious children and hope to worried families.

Earlier this year Tony made headlines by becoming the youngest ever recipient of a New Year Honour. He received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the prevention of child abuse.

Find out more about Tony’s fundraising by visiting the Evelina London Children’s Charity website.

Tony’s fundraising has also helped fund: 

  • Virtual reality headsets that help explain surgery to children. This helps young people feel less anxious before hospital procedures 
  • 3D printing software to help surgeons plan and perform surgeries 
  • A 3D camera system in operating theatres to help train more surgeons across the UK to perform rare and complex surgeries
  • The Tony Hudgell Rehabilitation Programme to help children access rehabilitation services closer to home

The community based tissue viability nursing service is celebrating their 25 year milestone this year. The team of 10 nurses provide treatment, advice and education on managing pressure ulcers, leg ulcers and wounds that are particularly hard to heal. The team is integrated with the inpatient service and see patients when they are admitted to hospital.

Tissue viability nurse specialist Caroline Hunter, who started the service, said: “Pressure ulcers can have a devastating effect. We want our patients to have a positive experience and to enhance their lives. We provide the expertise that can get patients out of hospital earlier to be cared for at home. This is good for their healing and improves quality of life and the state of mind not only for the patient, but their family and carers too.”

Physical activity can have lots of advantages for patients throughout their cancer journey. Janine Rasiah finds out more.

Did you know that exercising during cancer treatment has lots of benefits, including reducing anxiety and fatigue?

The Guy’s Cancer Centre physiotherapy team and NHS South East London Cancer Alliance have teamed up to help support patients before, during and after treatment.

They have developed information sheets for healthcare professionals with advice tailored to specific types of cancer and treatments.

They have also created an online module for patients which includes free exercise videos which they can follow and exercise along to online. These include both beginner and advanced exercises.

Tina Coburn, who was treated for IN FOCUS Physical activity can have lots of advantages for patients throughout their cancer journey. Janine Rasiah finds out more. uterus cancer at the Trust, appears in one of the videos. She was a regular at the gym before being diagnosed in November 2021 but suffered low energy following a hysterectomy and rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She even lost the motivation to walk her dog, Angus.

Tina, who lives in Plumstead, said: “Before cancer, I didn’t think anything of going for a brisk walk, and I would tackle steep hills easily. But cancer takes a lot out of you and you have to make adjustments.”

She spoke to her doctor and was recommended physio. She took part in a 10 week course at the Guy’s Cancer Centre gym which combined information about the benefits of physical activity with exercise.

Tina, who works as a sales assistant at a department store, said: “Each week I would see an improvement and it was great fun. It was not only good physically but good mentally too, leaving me feeling much more positive.”

Peter Ley, 67, has also felt the benefits of exercising during his cancer journey. He was originally diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017 which later spread to his lung.

Although Peter was encouraged to keep active after each of his three operations, he had physio for the first time as part of his recovery from lung surgery in early 2023.

He took part in individual and group sessions. The team helped tailor his goals to the equipment he had available at home in Eltham.

Peter experiences loss of balance due to the peripheral neuropathy he developed from chemotherapy. This meant some exercises were tricky at first, but he stuck with it.

He is currently having chemotherapy and is continuing to keep active using an app called PhysiApp.

Peter said: “Exercise puts me in a more positive frame of mind. When I feel fatigued, I know that by doing some exercise it will help me feel a bit better in all ways.

Senior physiotherapist Isla Veal, who led the development of the resources, said: “There is so much evidence to show that physical activity benefits people with cancer. We wanted to provide information specific to different types of cancer and treatments to help patients to get active in a safe way, and to help increase their confidence.”

Physiotherapy consultant Nicola Peat added: “Our aim is to support patients to be physically active throughout their cancer journey. We also hope that healthcare professionals will use this resource as a tool to support people to be active.”

A new podcast series hosted by TV presenter Julia Bradbury aims to support people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The 10-part series, called ‘Now What?’, has been funded by Guy’s Cancer Charity. It includes personal experiences from 11 of the Trust’s current and past cancer patients.

The episodes cover issues which patients said they wanted more first-hand accounts of. These include receiving a diagnosis, telling loved ones, and deciding to have surgery.

Wendy Harris-Newland, who has had treatment and surgery at the Trust after being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, said: “I wanted to share my knowledge – what I’ve learned through my experiences – to other patients, and to give back some of what I’ve received.”

Visit the usual podcast platforms to listen.

Lucy Lisanti shares the incredible story of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant patient.

At 17 years old, Bert Janssen received a heart transplant. He had no idea that he would go on to live another 40 years (and counting), and be recognised by the Guinness World Records for being the longest surviving heart transplant patient.

Bert received his transplant at Harefield Hospital on 6 June 1984, in an operation led by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub. He was flown from the Netherlands to the UK after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. This is a disease where the walls of the heart chambers become weak, making it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Bert said: “My new heart very quickly allowed me to return to a good quality of life. All these years later, I am still grateful for the incredible gift my donor gave me and to my cardiologist for seeking a life-saving solution.”

Bert went on to get married and have two children. His proudest achievements include building a house brick by brick (alongside his wife, and helped by their parents) and learning to fly a glider solo.

All these years later, I am still grateful for the incredible gift my donor gave me.

Bert, who was Harefield’s 107th transplant recipient, said: “I could never IN FOCUS Lucy Lisanti shares the incredible story of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant patient. World record patient imagine I would come this far, but nevertheless I always looked up to others who had their donor heart longer than me. It is an honour to have reached this milestone, but what I think is most important is that I set a benchmark for others.”

Harefield continues to be a leading heart and lung transplant centre in the UK, performing 54 transplants in 2022-23 alone.

Dr Fernando Riesgo Gil, consultant cardiologist and lead for the heart transplantation service, said: “I hope that Bert’s story helps encourage the public to consider registering as an organ donor and to give the gift of life.

“Today in the UK there are 334 people waiting for a new heart and waiting to have their lives transformed. Unfortunately, many of these people will die on the waiting list because we have a shortage of organ donors in this country.”

Bert retired from his job working at a primary school in 2017 and now spends his time maintaining the family home and supporting his wife’s picture framing business.

Maxine Hoeksma shares the stories of two services which are celebrating special milestones this year.

When the @home service launched ten years ago, it was one of the first of its kind in England.

The team now helps around 5,000 patients a year, including people with serious infections, breathing difficulties such as chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) and heart failure patients who become sick. They support these patients to get home sooner or avoid hospital altogether, and help free up hospital beds at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospitals.

The @home service was initially made up of a team of nurses, therapists, doctors and administrators, alongside operational and rehabilitation support workers. It has since grown to include pharmacists, social workers, consultants and GPs.

Having a service like ours can bridge the gap between hospital and home.

The latest development is the launch of a pilot scheme with remote monitoring technology company Doccla. Patients are able to be safely monitored from the comfort of their own homes, with equipment provided that enables them to take readings such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure several times a day. This data is sent via an app to be carefully analysed by clinicians at Doccla. The @home team provide follow-up visits or action as needed.

Our cover star Sandra Okiemute Enaigbe is proud to be senior nurse practitioner for the @home service. She moved to the team based at Elmcourt health centre and Walworth Road clinic in 2022 after honing her nursing skills on a urology ward at Guy’s Hospital.

Sandra said: “I really do enjoy my job because it gives me the time and access to make a positive impact on people’s lives. A lot of people living in our community are lonely or get very poorly at home because they don’t want to go to hospital. But with this service going into a patient’s house, visiting them with genuine concern for how they are doing, you can see the joy in their expression or the words that they say.

“Having a service like ours can bridge the gap between hospital and home and has proven to be very positive. Our job is to reassure people, giving them the right treatment in the comfort of their own home, in their regular environment. The fact that we are a very broad team which includes social workers, also means we can get the right people involved, for example to make sure the patient’s home is warm enough when they return home from hospital.”

Gerry Burke, head of nursing, said: “It’s great to see how far the service has come in 10 years. We have a wonderful team who are supporting more patients to get the treatment they need safely and conveniently in their own home, rather than being in hospital.”

Trust life

This year’s Trust Awards were the first since 2018. Janine Rasiah and Daisy Holden speak to some of the winners.

They are often the unsung heroes, but the Trust’s admin teams received the highest honour at the first Trust Awards since the pandemic, receiving the Chairman and Chief Executive award.

All of the admin staff at the ceremony were asked to take to the stage to receive the special award on behalf of their colleagues across the whole organisation.

The accolade recognised that these colleagues play a vital role in making sure patients receive care as quickly as possible, and provide essential support to front-line services.

Ward clerk Sarah James, who has worked for the Trust since 2007, was among the group that collected the award.

Sarah, who works on Cedar Ward at Harefield Hospital, said: “Our work is usually in the background, so to be centre stage and in the limelight was amazing.”

Edmund Mensah Boateng, inpatient ward administrator for the gynaecology ward at St Thomas’, also enjoyed the special moment.

He said: “It was great to be recognised – and it was such a surprise to us all. It was lovely for admin teams across the Trust to be up on stage together. It’s really motivating too.”

Professor Ian Abbs, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been through a huge amount together and achieved so much since our last Trust Awards in 2018.

“Our brilliant admin teams have been at the heart of everything, including our response to the pandemic, industrial action, and the launch of our electronic health record.”

Our work is usually in the background, so to be centre stage and in the limelight was amazing.

Thanks to support from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, the 2024 Trust Awards recognised staff from across the Trust’s 5 hospitals and multiple community sites. More than 950 nominations were received, showing the scale of the remarkable work carried out day in, day out.

The event was held at Park Plaza London Waterloo and hosted by TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh. He said the Trust holds a special place in his heart, as he did his junior doctor training at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and continues to work in the children’s A&E as a locum consultant.

The ‘People’s award’ was given to staff who were nominated by patients and members of the public, and was presented by Florence Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall.

Perinatal imaging midwives took home the team award for always putting their patients first and making sure they have the necessary support in place.

Our brilliant admin teams have been at the heart of everything, including our response to the pandemic.

Dr Aamir Amin, clinical fellow in cardiothoracic surgery, won the individual award after receiving a whopping 77 nominations from his patients – including one who said “the NHS needs more doctors like him”

And the winners are…

  • Improve, innovate and learn award:
    Team winner: Lambeth theatres HIT list
    Individual winner: Stephanie Tyler, sexual and reproductive health pharmacist
  • Value everybody award:
    Team winner: Children’s eye department team
    Individual winner: Riadian Power, service manager for Lambeth children's community services
  • Put patients first award:
    Team winner: Hedley Atkins occupational therapy and nursing teams
    Individual winner: Julie Graham, porter at Guy’s Hospital
  • Take pride in what we do award:
    Team winner: Paediatric intensive care and South Thames Retrieval Service
    Individual winner: Jodie Spyrou, clinical lead of the Amputee Rehabilitation Unit
  • People’s award:
    Team winner: Perinatal imaging midwives
    Individual winner: Dr Aamir Amin, clinical fellow in cardiothoracic surgery
  • Strive to be the best award:
    Team winner: Sir Reginald Wilson ward’s digital champion nursing team
    Individual winner: Harsha Naik, photosensitivity practitioner
  • Act with integrity award​​​​​​​:
    Team winner: Laryngology consultants ​​​​​​​
    Individual winner: Joanne Ampah, targeted lung healthcheck flow coordinator
  • Respect others award​​​​​​​​​​​​​​:
    Team winner: St Thomas’ portering team
    Individual winner: Dr Rachel Kesse Adu, clinical lead for haematology and the sickle cell team
  • Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity award:
    Dr Raselle Miller, staff clinical psychologist
  • Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity award:
    Royal Brompton and Harefield arts team
  • Chairman and Chief Executive award​​​​​​​:
    Team winner: Admin teams from across the Trust​​​​​​​

Hannah Hayes talks about her role as music therapist at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

How can music therapy help young patients?

Music therapy offers a different approach to traditional psychological therapies.

Music therapists are registered healthcare professionals, who are trained to work with children and adults to achieve therapeutic goals.

At Evelina London, we support children and young people with their emotional, social and physical health needs. It can help them to feel relaxed, manage sounds on the ward and have a more positive hospital stay.

Which children can benefit most from music therapy?

All children and young people can benefit from music therapy. It allows them to express themselves by playing musical instruments, writing songs and sharing music with the therapist.

I often see children who have a long hospital stay, might be distressed or cannot express how they feel verbally. Music therapy can help these children a lot.

What happens at a typical music therapy session?

A typical session is like having a musical conversation with a child. I bring various musical instruments for us to create live music together.

I often use familiar songs, such as nursery rhymes, in sessions with young children. Older children might enjoy writing songs, making up music with the therapist or thinking about the meaning of lyrics. I adapt the sessions to suit each individual child.

What do you enjoy about your job?

It is a privilege to work as a music therapist at Evelina London. Sharing a musical experience with a child can be so special and moving. When one of my sessions helps a child having a difficult time in hospital, it makes the job worthwhile.

I enjoy working as part of a caring, professional team. Above all, I love using my passion for music to give some meaning to the experiences of children in hospital.

Merrice Murphy, restaurant supervisor at Shepherd Hall.

The best thing about my job is seeing the customer satisfaction first-hand. As I’m front of house, I get to know a lot of people from different backgrounds.

I have worked in the catering team since September 2004, and been in my current role since 2012. Eating habits have changed a lot during this time and we are much more inclusive to different dietary needs. We are also a lot more conscious of minimising food waste.

I either work 7am to 3pm, or 9am to 5pm. During the early shift, there's a quick turnaround before we open for breakfast service. My responsibilities include making sure that all the equipment is working and the fridges and freezers are the correct temperature. I also do the orders for produce and disposable knives and forks. We stop serving breakfast at 10.30am and prep lunch, which is available from 11.30am to 3.30pm.

We have a lot of popular dishes but everybody seems to like chicken – however it’s cooked! Fridays are the most challenging day as everybody wants fish and chips. Sometimes the queue is all the way back to Central Hall, and you’re back and forth on your feet all day.

We have good camaraderie in the team and enjoy celebrating occasions like Chinese New Year and Black History Month with special menus. These events not only bring us together but also spread joy among our customers.

Are you passionate about improving healthcare? Are you looking to learn new skills? We need your help! We want to make sure that the valuable projects funded by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity continue to reflect the needs of patients, families, and carers. We also want projects to have even more impact.

We're seeking a diverse range of recent or current patients, their family members, and carers to join our Patient and Carer Panel. This includes people of different ages and abilities, LGBT+ individuals, and people of the global majority.

You'll receive training and support, as well as expenses and recognition for your time and commitment.

Ready to make a difference?

To sign up, or find out more about the role, please email [email protected] or call 020 7188 6808. The deadline to sign up is 15 May 2024.

History corner

As the MediCinema at Guy's Hospital marks its first decade, Janine Rasiah discovers how it supports patients.

Most people will be familiar with the way that a film can transport you to another time and place. The MediCinema at Guy’s has been helping patients and staff experience this joy, without leaving the hospital, for over 10 years.

Like all good cinemas, it shows the latest releases, has a red carpet and displays the name of the film being screened outside.

The key differences are that its tucked away on the second floor of Southwark wing, no food is allowed - and it’s free thanks to funding from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity.

Nicks Hill, who manages the MediCinema, said: “It gives patients something to look forward to. It’s wonderful to see the change in their mood once they have been to a screening and it makes a real difference to their experience of the hospital.”

The cinema screens four different films a week for inpatients, with some regularly attending all of them.

There are 37 brightly coloured seats and three recliners so that patients can stretch their legs out if they need to. A recent refurbishment means patients in beds can now be wheeled from their wards to the front of the cinema.

On days when a film is being screened, Nicks visits wards at 3.30pm to speak to he nurses in charge and patients to find out who wants to attend. At 5.30pm, two MediCinema nurses go back to the wards to check that there are no changes to the patients’ conditions. Sometimes there is a waiting list for popular films.

Volunteers arrive an hour before the screening to clean the seats. They then collect patients and are on hand, alongside the two nurses, until after patients return to their wards.

The MediCinema at Guy’s opened in December 2013 and Nicks has been part of the team for most of this time. She enjoys putting on regular special screenings for staff and outpatient groups, as well as one-off screenings for individual patients and their loved ones.

Her highlights over the years include the Barbie screening last year. The volunteers all wore pink to mark the occasion.

Nicks said: “It’s really special to give patients memories which aren’t just sitting in a hospital bed. They can bring family or friends with them and share an experience which is normal outside of the hospital, and isn’t connected to their medical care. Some patients say they don’t know what to talk about with visitors. The MediCinema gives them an opportunity to talk about the film.”

Foundation Trust life

Mary Stirling shares some of the projects that she is most proud to have worked on since becoming a governor.

Governors play a crucial role in representing the views of Guy’s and St Thomas’ patient, public and staff members, ensuring the Trust’s services meet the needs of its communities.

Mary Stirling decided to become a patient governor in 2018. She had received treatment from the Trust on several occasions and wanted to make a difference and give back. She says she is really proud to have been elected for two terms and feels a responsibility to the members who voted for her.

Mary's highlights to date include helping refresh the mental health strategy and supporting the education and training department to make their voices heard. She has also enjoyed being part of the nutrition steering group.

She said: “Last summer we produced a new nutrition and hydration strategy and I was excited to be able to promote it at Guy's. We had a stand where I met such a wide group of people. So many people stopped to chat and really wanted to give their views – not just about the strategy but about their own experiences of the Trust.”

Mary worked as a nursing auxiliary at Guy’s in 1977, and went on to have a career in education and health. Her last full time role involved organising events to encourage local young people to consider university as a possibility.

She is currently very involved in work and health research projects with a number of universities. She believes that her mum would have been “really proud” to find out that she was a governor at the Trust as she always wanted to become a nurse.

Mary, who lives in south east London, added: “I believe that if you really want to make a difference and make your voice heard, then being a governor is the ideal way to do it.”

The governors are your elected representatives. Elections to the Council of Governors are taking place in spring 2024. Voting is open to Trust members from Monday 22 April to Wednesday 15 May.

Find out more by calling 02071887346 or visiting the membership page on the Trust website.

Robert Tateossian explains how becoming a member is a great way to get involved in your local community.

As an NHS Foundation Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ has a membership made up of patients, carers, staff and local people.

The Trust counts on its members for feedback, support and local knowledge, with members able to make a real difference to the way services are developed.

Robert Tateossian became a member in August 2023 after spotting a leaflet about membership, and has thrown himself into what’s on offer.

He has enjoyed listening to several free seminar talks and made a suggestion for a future talk explaining behind the scenes of blood tests and other procedures used to diagnose conditions. This has been scheduled for May.

Robert, who has received treatment from the Trust, said: “I thought it would be quite interesting as blood tests underline practically everything in medicine. I’m really looking forward to hearing more.”

He has also attended the Trust’s annual public meeting and completed patient led assessments of several wards and clinics at both Guy’s and St Thomas’. His other highlights include taking part in an in-person workshop to give feedback on how technology can be used to improve patient care. He valued the opportunity to hear different perspectives and meet people from a range of backgrounds.

Robert, who has lived in Southwark for nearly 18 years, said: “I think being a member is a great way of getting involved if you can’t make a commitment to regular volunteering. There aren’t set hours and you can do as much or as little as you can or want to.

“I didn’t appreciate just how much innovation is going on at the Trust, or how much thought goes into the hospital environment, until I got involved. I have learnt so much already.”

To become a member, call 020 7188 7346, email [email protected], or visit the membership page on the Trust website.

Last updated: May 2024

Is this page useful?