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17/06/16: £3.2 million upgrade for St Mary's Hospital A&E thanks to charity funding

AmbulancePatients visiting accident and emergency (A&E) at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington are set to benefit from improved facilities and an increase in treatment areas for the most serious cases following a £3.2 million refurbishment.

Work on the upgrade, which is funded in full by a grant from Imperial College Healthcare Charity, will begin on Monday 6 June. The A&E will remain open throughout the refurbishment which is due to be completed by early January 2017.

The planned works include:

•an increase in the number of resuscitation bays - where seriously ill patients are stabilised as priorities - from four to six 

•a new four-bed paediatric assessment unit within the children’s A&E department to provide dedicated facilities for children who need further investigation to determine whether they should be admitted or discharged 

•improved patient pathways with the creation of a new assessment area

•a redesigned reception area which will offer more privacy and a better patient experience 

•a new area where friends and families can wait in private

The refurbishment follows on from investment last year by the Trust which saw an increase of six consultants in St Mary’s A&E. This has allowed the department to provide more senior staff until later in the evening and increased capacity at the weekend

Dr Ali Sanders, Chief of Service for Emergency and Ambulatory care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The layout and design of St Mary’s A&E department needs to keep pace with demand. Last year, we had a 15 per cent increase in patients arriving via emergency ‘blue light’ ambulance. The upgrade will provide more spaces for assessment and treatment of our most critically ill and injured patients and a more efficient working environment for staff. This will mean faster pathways for patients, in better surroundings and with greater privacy.” 

Ian Lush, CEO of Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “A&E departments can be stressful places to visit and work. Improving the facilities at St Mary’s A&E will give a significant boost to patients, staff and families, and bring the environment up to a standard which better reflects the very high quality of the clinical care provided.  We are pleased that the Charity has been able to make this significant investment in the Trust’s facilities.” 

The A&E will remain operational throughout the works which will be completed in phases to minimise disruption. 

The refurbishment forms part of a range of improvements to improve the efficiency and quality of the Trust’s A&E services. 

13/06/16: Footballers raise thousands for charity after friend loses battle with cancer

Latchingdon footballersThe memory of a popular Essex man who died of leukaemia has inspired friends and family to fundraise for the hospital that treated him.

A charity football match was held in Latchingdon on 14 May in honour of 34-year-old Lee Blowers, who lost his 18-month battle with the disease in December.

The event, named the Lee Blowers Memorial Trophy, was followed by a charity auction and raffle and raised £8,061 for the ward at Hammersmith Hospital in west London where he was treated.

Lee’s friend, Mike Cawston, said: “Lee was convinced he was going to beat the disease. Even when he had setbacks he was really positive about it. That was just the way he was.

“At one point, when he looked like he was in remission, he wanted to give something back to the hospital but he got ill again pretty quickly. 

“After he died, we decided we wanted to do it for him. I think Lee would be happy with the amount we have raised. He spoke so highly about the ward and how well he was cared for.”

Money raised will go to Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises money for research, equipment and projects at the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust including Hammersmith Hospital.

Every penny raised in Lee’s honour will directly benefit and enhance the care environment for patients in Dacie ward in the Catherine Lewis Centre at Hammersmith Hospital. The ward treats a wide range of blood-related diseases and cancer.

More than 50 people took part in the charity football match, which took place at the King George playing fields in Latchingdon. 

There was a minute of applause in memory of Lee before the match.

Lee Blowers“It gave all 250 people there the chance to think about him. It was emotional and we had been so busy organising the match we hadn’t had the chance to think about it until we were about to play,” said 31-year-old Mike.

Lee, who grew up in Latchingdon, lived in Kensington and worked as a retoucher for fashion company Net-a-Porter in Shepherd’s Bush.

Mike, of Upminster, said the match was very competitive. It saw a team of former Latchingdon football players, known as the Latchingdon Legends, whom Mike played for, win 3-2 against the current Latchingdon Football Club. 

The fundraiser is set to become an annual event and a trophy will be given to the winning side every year.

02/06/16: Aunt abseils for charity so more children like her nephew can receive lifesaving treatment

IMG 5671A brave little boy's fight for life has inspired his aunt to raise money for the children's intensive care unit that helped to save him.

Nadia Marsella was one of 55 people who abseiled 10-storeys down the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Building at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington in aid of the More Smiles Appeal, which aims to raise £2 million to renovate and expand the hospital's children's intensive care unit.

Nadia, who lives in Hayes, is raising money to thank the hospital for treating her nephew, Maurice Marsella Joseph, who was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, known as MPS 1 Hurler syndrome, shortly after he was born prematurely. The syndrome affects one in every 100,000 children and symptoms can include respiratory problems, hearing loss, an enlarged liver and vision problems.

"Maurice was very sick and was treated at a few hospitals. He came to St Mary's when he was about seven-months-old because he caught a chest infection," said Nadia, who works in St Mary's Hospital's Lindo Wing.

"His immune system was very low due to treatment and if he caught a cold it could have killed him. We thought he was going to die but the team in the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's reassured us. They understood his problems straight away and he was really well looked after.

"Maurice has recovered and he is now four-years-old. He is still taking medication but he is much better now. He is still here with us and is growing up, playing like all the kids of his age."

Every year, around 400 patients are cared for in the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's but it also turns away hundreds more critically ill children because it does not have enough beds. This means children may have to be transferred hundreds of miles for treatment.

Last year, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number actually admitted.

Nadia and MauriceThe More Smiles Appeal aims to create a new unit with 15 beds, almost doubling the current number, allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year. There will also be new equipment, a dedicated parents' room and a private room allowing space for doctors and nurses to provide emotional support and care to families whose children are very seriously ill.

The £2 million appeal is led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC. The total project cost is £10 million and the remainder of the costs will be funded by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

Nadia, who took part in the abseil on 27 May, thanked everyone who has helped her raise more than £440 so far.

"I am incredibly scared of heights but I wanted to abseil to help create more beds and treatments for many other kids in need. With our help we could change so many other lives," she said.

"My nephew was my motivation to do this. He got better and I would do anything for him."

To sponsor Nadia, go to

To find out more about the More Smiles Appeal or to sign up for future events, go to


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