Latest news


Latest news

24.04.18: Save Your Vein campaign launches website thanks to charity support

jeremy and christine2A campaign led by Imperial College Healthcare medics to raise awareness about the importance of healthy veins has launched a brand new website.

Funded by Imperial Health Charity, the site is helping to spread the word about the Save Your Vein campaign, which was founded by consultant transplant and vascular surgeon Jeremy Crane and GP registrar Christine Hall, who are based at Hammersmith Hospital.

The campaign aims to educate renal patients and healthcare professionals about vein preservation.

Preserving veins is particularly important for patients who require frequent blood tests, such as those with kidney disease or diabetes.

Co-founder Jeremy Crane said: "At Imperial we look after the biggest cohort of dialysis patients in the country, but in order to have a fistula patients need strong veins.

"We have found that there is a real lack of awareness about vein preservation nationwide - and that is why we have started this campaign."

The best way for renal patients to undergo haemodialysis is via a fistula, or 'super vein'. A fistula is a surgically-created connection between an artery and a vein most commonly in the arm or wrist. Many patients refer to their fistula as their lifeline.

The successful creation of a fistula relies on a number of factors, including that a patient has healthy and strong veins. But repeated blood tests and the insertion of intravenous lines results in veins becoming scarred and damaged. When this happens to the veins in the elbow or wrist it can mean that the creation of a fistula is more difficult or will be less likely to succeed. This deprives the patient of the best possible treatment.

Jeremy added: "This is a real breakthrough moment and potentially a world first for the Trust. Once patients start talking about vein preservation, it begins that early conversation about having a fistula. We also hope that patients who preserve their veins will go on to have a successful fistula, enabling thme to live longer and cope better with the demands of dialysis.

"Having a really good website is an integral part of getting this campaign out across the country and we are incredibly grateful to Imperial Health Charity for making it happen."

Imperial Health Charity awarded a grant of £5,000 to fund the development of the Save Your Vein website. To find out more about the campaign, visit

18.04.18: Charity launches Youth Volunteering Programme at Hammersmith Hospital

Te Anna Dacres pic6 13.04.18Imperial Health Charity is to launch its first volunteering programme specifically for young people at Hammersmith Hospital this summer.

The programme offers young people aged 16 to 25 the opportunity to develop their skills and gain valuable experience alongside staff at one of London's busiest hospitals.

Applications are now open, with the two-month summer programme due to start on 2 July.

Working in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the charity has developed the new volunteering roles in support of the 'i will' social action campaign.

During the programme, the volunteers will be a welcoming and friendly face for patients at the hospital. By supporting patient activities and engagement, they will also improve the hospital experience for patients, develop new skills and gain experience in a variety of front-facing roles.

The role will involve welcoming patients as they arrive in wards and waiting areas, helping patients check in for their appointments and directing them to different areas of the hospital.

In return, volunteers will receive a one-day training session, a volunteer uniform, support from a dedicated Youth Volunteering Manager as well as awards and recognition for the time they have contributed.

The summer programme begins on 2 July and ends on 24 August. During this time, volunteers will be required to commit to a minimum of 30 hours. Applications close on Moday 14 May.

To find out more about the programme and apply, click here.

28.03.18: Home Office minister praises gang violence programme at St Mary's Hospital

IMG 1986Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, visited St Mary’s Hospital yesterday to find out more about the Youth Violence Intervention Programme.

The project was set up in 2014 as a partnership between Imperial Health Charity and Redthread to help tackle the growing problem of youth and gang violence in London.

Specialist youth workers are embedded in the hospital’s A&E department and intervene when at-risk young people are admitted, many of whom have been shot or stabbed.

Atkins toured the Emergency Department and Major Trauma Ward alongside Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, praising the staff working on the frontlines to help break the cycle of violence.

She said: “We know that if you engage with young people early, it is possible to guide them away from a life of crime. It was both humbling and inspiring to meet the remarkable people transforming lives in this hospital.”

Every year hundreds of young victims of violence are treated in Major Trauma Centre and the programme seizes on this ‘teachable moment’ as a perfect opportunity to intervene and support them in turning their lives around.

Dr Asif Rahman, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: “It’s made a huge difference to our department and staff, making them more aware of young people, their needs and how to manage them.”

“Knowing that there’s a group of youth workers who are here in the hospital seven days a week who can come and explain to the patient, help them through what’s often quite a difficult journey has been really helpful. Staff have given feedback that they feel more comfortable working with young people so it’s always been a positive thing.”

The charity supported Redthread as part of its Major Trauma Centre Appeal, which raised almost £1 million for the department, with 100% of the money going towards improving patient care.

Dr Rahman said: “Since the very beginning the charity has been there when we decided we needed something important in this hospital. Their support has helped us get funding, which was really important for the service”.

To find out more about Redthread’s Youth Violence Intervention Programme, visit their website.

14.03.18: Live music exhibition to open at Charing Cross Hospital

Dirty Three at Shepherds BushAn exhibition featuring photos of some of today’s most exciting musical acts is set to open at Charing Cross Hospital next week.

Professional photographer Richard Gray, who underwent life-changing surgery at the hospital, has teamed up with Imperial Health Charity to unveil London Rocks!, featuring Seal, Father John Misty, The Prodigy and Christine and the Queens.

"London is home to many of the country's most famous live music venues and I wanted to choose images that show the artist in context," said Richard. "I hope the pictures will remind people in the hospital of some of the joy on offer around the capital's music venues."

Richard, who is the house photographer at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush, said: “I’m delighted to be working with Imperial Health Charity to launch this exhibition and to be able to give something back to the medical team at Charing Cross who did such a fantastic job with my surgery.”

Richard was treated at Charing Cross in 2016 after a tingling sensation in his feet turned out to be the result of a damaged thoracic disc affecting his spinal cord.

“They warned me that it could get really serious if it wasn’t dealt with,” said Richard, who spent five days in hospital. “I could have ended up paralysed from the waist down.”

“It was elective surgery but their call was that we should do it. Now I’m glad we did – my legs feel stronger and I’m back to full-time work. The idea of still having it hanging over me is quite scary.”

The exhibition opens at Charing Cross on Friday 23 March where it’ll spend four months before moving on to Hammersmith Hospital until the end of October. The artworks will then be sold to raise money for the hospitals.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “We aim to change the way visitors experience the hospital environment by transforming clinical settings into bright and uplifting areas.

“We are really excited to bring Richard’s stunning photographs into our hospitals and celebrate London’s live music heritage.”

Visit our website to find out more about our arts programme, including current exhibitions across the Trust’s hospitals.

08.03.18: Marathon challenge for leukaemia patient who defied 5-year life expectancy

IMG 1631 croppedA patient at Hammersmith Hospital who was given 5 years to live in 2003 after being diagnosed with leukaemia is taking part in the London Marathon to raise money for Imperial Health Charity.

Sam Blood will don her running shoes to join in the iconic challenge as a way of thanking the staff for helping her beat the prognosis.

Sam was diagnosed shortly after becoming pregnant and told to start chemotherapy immediately. Because of her pregnancy, she was deemed a special case and referred to Hammersmith Hospital where they started her on a course of a brand-new drug which has kept her alive ever since.

“I can’t fault the NHS at all, they’ve been amazing,” said Sam. “I’ve had leukaemia for 14 years and this is probably the healthiest I’ve been so I just thought I’d push myself a little bit more to give back to the Hammersmith staff for everything they’ve given me.”

Although the medicine gave her the chance to be there to raise her son, the side effects caused severe joint and bone pain. Fortunately, she discovered an effective way to soothe the pain: running!

“I was talking to a lady in the waiting room one day and she said she’d started running and it helped her with her side effects so I thought I’d give it a go.”

“I started on the treadmill, working my way up from 1k to 2k then 5k and then I saw an advert for a women’s jogging club. I phoned them up, signed up to an 8-week course, started there and now I’m running a marathon!”

Every penny Sam raises will go back to The Blood Fund, the charity’s fundraising campaign to support the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital. Over the next year the charity is aiming to raise £250,000 to support pioneering research and exceptional care for patients with a wide variety of blood disorders.

If you’d like to sponsor Sam, visit her fundraising page to show your support.

07.03.18: Charity funding helps transform ward to support older patients

IMG 1541A newly refurbished ward specially designed to care for older patients has been opened at St Mary’s Hospital thanks to support from Imperial Health Charity.

The charity contributed £320,000 towards the £1 million project which saw the 20-bed Thistlethwayte ward undergo a redesign to create extra space for beds and bathrooms, with dementia-friendly signs, special lighting and artwork installed to help frail patients feel more comfortable during their time in hospital.

Ian Lush, chief executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “We are delighted to have supported this essential refurbishment, which will ensure the staff on the Thistlethwayte ward can continue to provide outstanding care for elderly patients when they need it most.

“The team of nurses here work incredibly hard day after day, night after night, to help patients with complex conditions – including many who have dementia – and this fantastic new ward will equip them with the best possible tools for the job.”

The charity also partnered with Lucentia Design to install a series of vibrant, uplifting window artworks to brighten up the ward and assist wayfinding for patients and visitors. As part of the charity’s arts engagement programme, patients will also be offered the chance to take part in arts and crafts workshops delivered by the Paper Birch team.

Cathy Gale, lead nurse for specialist medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, said: “The Thistlethwayte ward is now a much better environment – for patients and staff.

“It’s airy, light and open, creating a more reassuring, safer and comfortable environment for some of our most vulnerable patients.

 “For staff it has made everything easier, from serving meals to having more space, and that all helps us to deliver excellent care for our patients.

“It has been a real team effort, everyone has worked together and been engaged with the project from start to finish.”

05.03.18: Musician visits help calm critically ill patients

IMG 1583A charity grant is bringing live music sessions to Intensive Care Unit patients to help them relax and take their mind off their surroundings.

ICUs can be terrifying experiences for patients, who, on top of dealing with physical pain and discomfort, find themselves surrounded by constant noise and disruption in an unfamiliar environment.

The weekly sessions, part of the ICU-Hear project, make use of tailored performances featuring a variety of instruments and have been shown to have a positive impact on patients.

Jess Ingham, Director at Music in Hospitals & Care, which organises the performances, has seen the difference they can make first-hand.

“Music, performed by skilled, professional musicians, can offer a human touch, a sense of something familiar, safe and comforting.  Focus is taken away from illness and pain.”

“Staff also benefit from music within the ICU.  If stress levels across the unit can be lowered, it will be of benefit to everyone.  When one of our musicians played on ICU at Manchester Royal Infirmary after the Manchester bomb attack, one of the nursing staff remarked that it was like experiencing an oasis of calm in what was otherwise such a terrible week.”

The project began after Helen Ashley Taylor, one of MIHC’s trustees was taken to an ICU due to complications resulting from surgery. Disturbed by the constant, frightening noise, she was momentarily calmed by the sound of music coming from a nearby television.

Now, ICU-Hear sessions take place in eleven hospitals throughout England and Cath Applewhite, Critical Care Sister at Manchester Royal Infirmary, believes the results speak for themselves.

"The music has a clear impact on the experience of Critical Care for our patients, relatives and staff.  The environment is at times chaotic, loud, busy and stressful.  This is changed in an instant to that of calmness, concentration, relaxation and quietness simply by the presence of the musicians and their performance." 

You can read more about MIHC’s work at

26.02.18: Artist in residence chosen for St Mary's children's ward

Navine G. Khan DossosAthens-based artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos has been chosen as the new resident artist for a creative programme working with children at St Mary’s Hospital.

The sixth-month Communal Knowledge residency will see Khan-Dossos work with younger patients to bring positivity and creativity into the hospital as part of a collaboration between the charity and The Showroom, a non-profit gallery in Marylebone.

“We’re very excited to work with Khan-Dossos and The Showroom to relaunch our artist in residence programme,” said Kate Pleydell, Arts Officer at Imperial Health Charity.

“The residency will give young patients the chance to engage with an exciting art project during their stay, whilst offering the artist a unique opportunity to develop their collaborative practice.”

Khan-Dossos said: “My residency is a time to work with patients and staff looking at how colour can be activated as a way to engage with memory, feelings, hopes, fears, learning and sharing ideas.”

“The first sessions will be using colour blocks to make sheets of colour that we name together through word-play, associations, discussions and exchange.”

“Through this activity, a colour palette is being built up, that I hope will be used as the building blocks for a way to introduce meaningful colour and tonal energy to an already dynamic department.”

Khan-Dossos studied History of Art at Cambridge University and holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design. She has exhibited and worked with various institutions, including The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and Witte de With in Rotterdam.

You can find out more about Khan-Dossos’ work on her website.

07.02.18: St Mary's staff run together to raise £6,000

2018 02 04 11.47.45 1Staff at St Mary’s hospital wrapped up warm on Sunday to brave 2°C weather and tackle the London Winter Run.

41 people from across the Emergency Department and Medicine & Integrated Care Division took part in the 10k run through central London to support Imperial Health Charity.

Not only did they all complete the challenging event but they also smashed their fundraising target, raising more than £6,000 for the Emergency Department and Small Grants Fund.

Kate Sendall, Senior Sister in the Emergency Department, said: “I’m incredibly proud of everyone for all their efforts with both the fundraising and actually completing the run!”

“I work with inspiring and amazing people; whether we’re running a 10k together or working a shift, we couldn’t have a better team. We trained together, encouraged each other when it was getting tough and everyone really challenged themselves, with incredible results.”

Winter can be an incredibly busy time for hospital staff who may find themselves neglecting their own wellbeing. The teams decided to take part to help support each other, as well as the charity.  

“My motivation was to get people healthy and involved in running so they could feel good about themselves, have an outlet for stress over winter and meet new people,” said Gemma Glanville, HR Business Partner in the Medicine & Integrated Care Division.

“Last winter I had a series of winter illnesses and so this year I was determined to keep healthy, take in fresh air and sunlight wherever possible and keep up my fitness levels. I encouraged people at work to sign up with me, including many first-time runners.”

“Training in the winter is hard, and we did lose some members of the original team to illness. In the early hours of Sunday morning we reached our £3000 target which was a fantastic place to be heading into the race. We had lovely personalised messages on our page which were really motivating and we had several anonymous donations – so whoever you are, thank you!”

Every penny they raised will make a huge difference. If you’re feeling inspired by them, visit our website to find out how we can help you give back to your hospital.

You can still sponsor their amazing efforts at and

30.01.18: Charity funded research published in prestigious medical journal

DrCoffeyResearch supported by Imperial Health Charity has been published in a top health journal.

The charity-funded study, looking at patients’ ability to swallow after having their voice box removed, was published in Dysphagia, a leading journal in its field.

Dr Margaret Coffey, the Clinical Service Lead at the Trust who received the grant, said “The charity’s support was a huge help. I wouldn’t have been able to publish the paper without it because it provided me with backfill for my clinical post, allowing me to write up my research.”

Patients who have undergone a laryngectomy, usually to treat cancer, often have difficulties swallowing. Normally, patients will have to wait 4-6 weeks for an X-ray, to assess their problems but Dr Coffey’s research found that inserting a flexible camera through a patient’s nose is a speedier alternative that avoids exposing patients to X-rays.

“I’m hoping that my publication will change practice for these patients,” said Dr Coffey. “If they can be examined as soon as possible, then it means we can implement a treatment to allow them to swallow in an easier way, much faster.”

“I’m hopeful that because I’ve been able to publish this paper in an influential journal it’ll have an effect on clinical practice. Not just at this medical centre but at other hospitals.”

You can read Dr Coffey’s research here.

Visit our grants page to find out more about the support we offer.

23.01.18: MS patient back on his feet after years in a wheelchair

IMG 20180109 144908471 BURST000 COVER TOPAfter spending more than a decade in a wheelchair, Roy Palmer walked back into Hammersmith Hospital to thank the team that helped him regain the use of his legs.

Roy was diagnosed with MS in 2003 after experiencing tingling in his legs and lost the ability to walk soon after.

After watching a documentary about stem cell transplants for people with his condition, Roy contacted the Trust and in October he found himself undergoing the procedure at Hammersmith Hospital. The transplant was a success and over the following weeks Roy started to walk again.

“To have had this treatment is just amazing,” said Roy. “I can’t describe what I feel like inside. I sent my best man a video and he was crying his eyes out and saying that it’s a miracle.”

“The staff were amazing and they treat you like a human being. The nurses who looked after me were such a laugh. They kept me in high spirits and we’re planning on running a marathon together.”

Roy says that the transplant has completely changed his life, even enabling him to fulfil his ambition of volunteering with the police force.

To thank the team that made this possible, Roy’s friends and family came together and raised £1,100 for The Blood Fund, supporting the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital.

Every penny raised for the fund goes back to improving care for patients with a variety of blood disorders and treatments. To find out more about The Blood Fund, visit

09.01.18: Model patient helps train nurses

IMG 1201Nurses in the paediatric team at St Mary’s Hospital are being supported in their development and learning to look after patients who require vascular access – thanks to a life-like model patient.

Charity funding has paid for a ‘Chester Chest’ doll, enabling hospital staff to develop their knowledge of the human body.

The life-size training tool, with a detachable right arm, replicates the proportions of a typical human torso and offers a unique opportunity for nurses to learn about the network of veins that carry blood around the body.

Claire Murphy, a clinical nurse educator based on the Great Western Ward at St Mary’s, secured an £850 charity grant to purchase the doll.

“The Chester Chest model is very popular with our staff as well as our patients, who have also been using the doll to better understand vascular access,” she said.

“We are extremely grateful to Imperial Health Charity for supporting this project which will help us continue to provide the highest quality education for our nurses.”

Are you a member of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust? To find out more about applying for a grant from Imperial Health Charity, visit

03.01.18: Charity helping break barriers for patients with FGM

FGM teamPatients who have undergone female genital mutilation are receiving greater care and learning more about the practice thanks to a charity grant to improve the Trust’s FGM services.

Funding from Imperial Health Charity has enabled specialists, including counsellors, a midwife and a Somali-speaking health advocate to raise awareness about FGM and engage with families to stop the practice being carried out. The team are also setting up patient support groups to help them cope with the psychological impact and providing 1-1 support for those who are particularly traumatised.

Juliet Albert, Specialist FGM Midwife at the Trust, believes one of the biggest challenges is breaking the taboo and getting people to open up about it.

“Imagine you came from a country where maybe in school they never talked about your anatomy. For some of the women we see, it’s the first time they’ve ever talked about it before so there is still a real silence around FGM.”

“It’s very traumatic and talking about it for the first time can bring back a lot of memories that they’ve had to suppress.”

Because it’s rarely talked about, a lot of people don’t know enough about the practice or the detrimental effect it can have on their health. FGM can cause recurring pain, infections, infertility and incontinence. It increases the risk of complications during pregnancy which can be life-threatening for both parent and baby.

The Trust has specialist FGM clinics based at the St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospitals and in 2016 Juliet’s team saw over 700 patients with FGM across both sites.

Having a Somali-speaking health advocate is particularly vital as Juliet estimates that 80% of the patients they see are Somali. Prior to the project, staff would need to book a translator which could present its own worries. Sometimes they wouldn’t turn up and other times they wouldn’t know enough about FGM to deal with it in a sensitive manner.

Juliet said: “The health advocate’s not just a translator but they’re somebody who’s from an FGM practising community as well, so they’re kind of a bridge between the clinicians, the healthcare professionals and the community.”

“There’s quite a big gap in understanding about FGM so you have to be quite sensitive to that but on the other hand we’ve got to be really clear about safeguarding girls."

For more information about FGM services at the Trust contact 077 3097 0738 or


Charity Week: The Staff Arts Club visits Frieze Art Fair

Thanks to Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s Staff Arts Club, a group of lucky Trust staff enjoyed a very special day at the Frieze London art fair recently.

The hugely successful Staff Arts Club is run by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and offers Trust staff free access to paid exhibitions at several of London’s most popular galleries, including the V&A, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy, as well as exclusive chances to win tickets to events such as Frieze London.

The renowned international contemporary art fair takes place annually in an enormous temporary structure in Regent’s Park, and the special day included an artist-led guided tour of the fair highlighting some of the key galleries and artworks on display. 

Staff Arts Club member Craig Wah Day, who works as an e-commerce assistant at St Mary’s Hospital, said: It was a fantastic day. The tour was really informative, the guide was lovely and it was nice to learn about the art in more detail, something that would’ve been lost if you were just walking around. I had no idea a lot of art on sale will only be seen there and people travel from all over the world for it.”

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist, Suzanne Vizor, said: ‘It was nice to be introduced to the Frieze by a knowledgeable working artist as our guide. Her insight was invaluable making the day a fantastic experience, so  thank you to the charity.’

The Staff Arts Club started less than 18 months ago and now has more than 1600 members. Previous Staff Arts Club events this year include an exclusive curator’s talk at St Mary’s Hospital on sell-out exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy, a private curator’s tour of the V&A’s Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, plus numerous opportunities to go to private views at these museums and galleries.

Lucy Zacaria, head of arts at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said “So many members of Trust staff have fed back to us about how much they enjoy being able to visit so many different galleries and exhibition which would normally cost a lot of money. The Staff Arts Club’s popularity has continued to grow this year and we’re really excited that we can continue to bring new and unique creative experiences to hospital staff.”

The Staff Arts Club is free to join if you are a member of Trust staff. You can sign up on the charity’s website:

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