News in brief: four new non-exec director posts, motorcycle paramedics relaunched, first carbon literate trust

It’s time for the news brief and, in a week when COP26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – is dominating the headlines, NHS trusts and staff are also stepping up to engage with change.

Elsewhere, we’ve covered plenty of appointment updates this week – from a second medical director at Imperial College to a new non-executive director at Hampshire Hospitals.

But there’s been plenty more stories happening within healthcare, so we’ve rounded up the best of the rest below…

Non-exec director roles open in Nottinghamshire

Switching tack from appointments to openings, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is advertising for four new non-executive directors.

The new recruits would join the trust’s unitary board. Nottinghamshire is specifically seeking a qualified accountant to chair its audit committee, and is also welcoming applications from people with expertise in digital and IT, equality, diversity and inclusion, and partnership working in a healthcare setting. 

The deadline for applications is is 11 November, and interested parties can find out more here.

NHS chief executive talks climate change

To mark a moment when climate emergency is firmly on the agenda, Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, featured in a video, explaining why, “climate change is a health emergency, as well as an environmental emergency.”

In the short clip, which is just over 1:40 minutes-long, she explains why the NHS is committed to being ‘net zero’ by 2040, and details some of the work that’s going on to support this, such as “climate-friendly pain relief” and the use of e-bikes to deliver chemotherapy.

Leeds crowned first Carbon Literate trust

Sticking with sustainability, The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS hospital trust to be officially ‘Carbon Literate’.

A sustainability team from the trust has worked alongside the Carbon Literacy Project since April, to deliver the first Carbon Literacy training based around healthcare and the NHS, with the goal of helping its staff to increase their awareness.

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at LTHT, whose leadership team undertook the training, said: “Carbon Literacy means being aware of the impact of everyday activities on the climate, and knowing what steps can be taken to reduce emissions, individually, in our teams, or as an organisation.

“The actions of individuals can and do make a difference. Learners who have completed a days’ worth of approved Carbon Literacy learning can be certified as Carbon Literate and we believe this training, this deepening of awareness, is a valuable tool in helping us to become a greener organisation.”

Louise Harling, Healthcare & Blue Light Coordinator at The Carbon Literacy Project, added: “The hard work and insight from the sustainability team at LTHT has enabled us to develop and disseminate a sharable NHS training toolkit.”

London’s Motorcycle Response Unit returns

London’s Motorcycle Response Unit (MRU) has returned to the roads, with paramedics relaunching the service after a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The motorcycle paramedics, which total almost 30, had been moved to other roles as part of the pandemic response. However, they are now responding to 999 calls again.

Although the teams will be based out of Croydon, Ilford and Waterloo, new technology has been installed on the bikes, which means that riders can now respond to calls throughout the capital.

London Ambulance Service Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Not only are they back on their motorcycles, but they will also be using their skills in the 999 control room.

“These senior clinicians will be so important as we head into winter – they will be supporting crews in their decision-making and be available to talk to our patients. Our cycle response unit (CRU) colleagues are doing the same thing.”

Liverpool to launch new integrated sexual health service

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) is set to launch a new integrated sexual and reproductive health service, called ‘Axess’, in early November.

LUHFT has a contract from Liverpool Council to ‘deliver an inclusive sexual and reproductive health service for all residents’, which will include ‘all aspects of sexual and reproductive health care’, such as contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

The move will see three existing services become integrated and digital services will also be key, with online booking and remote consultations available, as well as the ordering of contraception, testing and treatment by post. There will also be dedicated clinics for LGBTIQ+ and young people.

Work underway on Dorset’s eating disorders unit

Construction of Dorset’s new £8 million eating disorders unit has begun.

Work got underway at the end of October and the development is expected to be complete by 2023.

Located at St Ann’s Hospital in Sandbanks, the two-storey building will be able to accommodate 10 inpatients, as well as day care treatment slots with specialists, to reduce the need for out-of-area care.

Dr Ciarán Newell, Consultant Nurse for eating disorders at the Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this project has begun. The current capacity of six beds at our unit doesn’t meet demand and, as a result, some patients go to specialist units elsewhere in the country for treatment.

“We are very pleased that more local people will soon be able to get the care they need and still be close to their friends and family, which can aid their recovery.”

Newcastle Hospitals work on MND research

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is working with the charity, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, to explore whether existing medications can help slow the progression of motor neurone disease (MND).

With £250,000 in funding from the charity, the trust will set up the MND-SMART clinical trial, which will test multiple drugs at once.

Dr Timothy Williams, Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle Hospitals and Director of the Newcastle Motor Neurone Disease Care and Research Centre, said: “This clinical trial will compare one of two trial drugs against a dummy drug and look for slowing of changes in patient’s respiratory (lung) function, quality of life and psychological factors, such as behaviour. We will also look to see if there is improved life expectancy.”

Royal Marsden trial provides kidney cancer insights

Another clinical trial, conducted by researchers from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, University College London (UCL), and the Francis Crick Institute, has provided new insights into immunotherapy for kidney cancer.

The scientists found that immune cell patterns within tumours can help predict whether patients with kidney cancer will respond to immunotherapy treatment.

Results from the ADAPTeR clinical trial, which was sponsored by The Royal Marsden and partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, were published in the Cancer Cell journal at the end of October.

Lewis Au, co-lead author and a clinical research fellow at The Royal Marsden and the Crick, said: “Analysing multiple samples from each patient, both from different parts of the kidney tumour and from tumours that have spread to other organs, is critically important. It’s known that molecular information in kidney cancer is distributed like a mosaic within the tumour – such that taking a single sample may not capture all the information needed for a comprehensive analysis.

“Our study also shows how in-depth studies of cancer biology within clinical trials can be incredibly powerful.”