News in Brief – cell therapy, mental health transformation and new CEO appointed

Welcome to the latest edition of the Leading Healthcare News in Brief, where we round up all the latest news that you may have missed from the world of healthcare.

New eye theatre opened

A new high tech theatre hub has been opened by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and will focus entirely on cataract surgery.

The Newcastle Westgate Cataract Centre contains three theatres and will perform 1,000 cataract surgeries a month.

Chief Executive Dame Jackie Daniel said: “It’s fantastic that we can safely offer so many more patients the chance to have this important surgery and I am incredibly proud of the adaptability and creativity of the teams who have worked so hard to achieve this.

“This is a great example of transformational thinking to provide a much swifter service with a clear focus on patient care and experience. It’s a model which I’m certain will be rolled out across the wider NHS.”

SiSU health group announce new CEO

SiSu Health Group has named their new CEO, Samantha Fay, to replace current incumbent, Noel Duncan, who will remain as Managing Director.

Noel Duncan, SiSU’s Founder and Managing Director said: “Samantha’s appointment comes at a very exciting time for the SiSU business. We have ambitious growth plans and are well-positioned to aggressively scale across a number of channels and geographies.

“I am delighted that Samantha has agreed to take on the role of CEO. Her strong leadership and proven experience in strategy, digital and business transformation, operations and ecommerce will be a force in developing and driving SiSU forward.”

Samantha Fay previously held the role CEO UK/ Europe and Group General Manager of SiSU Health Group. She has an Executive Global MBA from IE Business School (Madrid) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Strategy and Innovation from Said Business School (University of Oxford).

Consultant elected Chair of the Psychiatrists Liaison Psychiatry Faculty

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust has announced that one of their consultants has been elected as Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Liaison Psychiatry Faculty. Dr Annabel Price took the role in late June, and will now serve a four-year term.

The liaison psychiatry faculty works with national networks to offer evidence-based treatment and aims to make it more widely available.

Dr Annabel Price said of her appointment: “This has been a hard year for us all, but the adaptability and creativity shown by our specialty has been astonishing, and I’ve never been more proud to call myself a liaison psychiatrist.

“Being part of a team that brings together doctors, nurses, psychologists, and experts by experience makes for an inclusive approach grounded in the real life of services. I will ensure that all aspects of faculty work continue to be driven by the pursuit of the highest standards of care for patients.”

Dr Annabel Price previously served as Vice-Chair and has been a member of the liaison physiatry faculty for the past eight years.

Cell therapy trial for lung scarring launched

The world’s first human cell therapy trial to treat lung scarring from COVID-19 has started at Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.

The trial will be led by Mr Ashish Patel, consultant vascular surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and a clinical senior lecturer within the King’s BHF Centre for Excellence, at the School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences.

Mr Ashish Patel said: “I am very proud of how quickly our team has been able to progress this study from concept when the first wave hit to dosing patients with the cell therapy product. Our research is focused on developing novel advanced therapies and their translation from the laboratory to the bedside and it has been fantastic being part of a truly translational piece of clinical research. Successful delivery of this experimental cell therapy into patients marks an important milestone in establishing its safety, before it is considered for treating larger numbers of patients who are affected by post COVID-19 fibrotic lung disease.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the five incredible patients who have come through their severe COVID-19 illness and been so willing to participate in this first in human study. We could not have done this without their support.”

New CEO named by Cornwall Trust

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has named Debbie Richards as their new Chief Executive and will take up the role in October 2021.

Dr Matthew Patrick has been acting as Interim Chief Executive and will continue in the role until October. Debbie Richards joins the trust from Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

Margaret Schwarz, acting Chair at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am delighted we were able to secure Debbie for the role of chief executive. Throughout the recruitment process, she demonstrated the values and behaviours we were looking for. She demonstrated a commitment to patient needs, staff wellbeing, and effective and efficient delivery of services and we look forward to her joining the trust.”

Debbie Richards said: “Leading a community and mental health trust is my ambition and passion, and this exciting opportunity allows me to return to my roots and steer a trust that is driven to provide the very best care and services in the county of my birth.”

Major financial boost for mental health transformation

An investment package that will deliver transform mental health services has been announced by Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Care Partnership and will be worth £11.9m. The funding comes directly from NHS England and Improvement.

Dr Richard Onyon, Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Over the next three years, we aim to develop a sustainable community mental health care system that will provide individuals with seamless care across physical and mental health services.

“Our plans for this new system-wide provision of support for people’s mental health is an ambitious but exciting one. The work will include the establishment of invaluable, new roles including people who have lived experience of mental health difficulties. We have already begun to establish stronger links with GPs, with new Mental Health Workers starting to be based in surgeries.”

The transformation will dedicate special attention to the following areas; people with a diagnosis of personality disorder, eating disorders, and community rehabilitation. The transformation will work with those with lived experience of mental health issues and bring together local authorities, voluntary and community sector organisations.