News in Brief – Bradford’s £300k boost, new Chief Nurse for Chelsea, ULHT announces Director

It’s time for a Tuesday morning round-up of the healthcare news in brief. This week, we’ve collected a number of stories from across the NHS – featuring workforce challenges, fundraising updates, training opportunities, awards, appointments, and more.

Here’s what’s been happening in the health sector…

New Director of Improvement at ULHT

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has appointed Dr Sameedha Rich-Mahadkar as its new Director of Improvement and Integration.

Tasked with leading on ‘improvements and innovation’ across the trust’s services, Dr Rich-Mahadkar has joined both the Executive Leadership Team and the Board.

Joining from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Rich-Mahadkar is taking over the ULHT role while Mark Brassington is on secondment with NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands Region.

Dr Rich-Mahadkar said of the appointment: “I am excited to be bringing my experience of supporting and empowering teams to make ULHT an outstanding place to work and an outstanding place in which to receive care.”

Chelsea and Westminster’s New Chief Nurse

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has announced that Robert Bleasdale will be its new Chief Nurse Officer (CNO).

Currently Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bleasdale will join Chelsea and Westminster on 1 April 2022. He replaces the outgoing Chief Nurse, Pippa Nightingale, who leaves to take on the Chief Executive role at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that Robert will be joining us. He brings a wealth of experience to the role. I know Robert will lead the development of our nursing and midwifery teams with skill and compassion, and will be a valuable addition to the leadership team at the trust.”

UCLH opens new national therapy centre

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is now treating patients at its new national proton beam therapy centre.

The facility, which provides a form of radiotherapy, is the second of only two NHS centres of its kind in the UK. It will cover the whole of the south of England, while The Christie in Manchester treats patients in the north.

The national proton beam therapy service is funded by a £250 million investment from the UK Government and will treat ‘up to 1,300 patients from across England’.

Previously, the only way to access this treatment – which can target tumours with ‘millimetre accuracy’ and limit the impact on surrounding tissue – was through the NHS overseas treatment programme.

Northumbria to provide breastfeeding rooms for staff

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will now provide breastfeeding ‘expressing’ rooms for staff who are returning to work after maternity leave,

The North East trust will dedicate rooms across all of its sites, to support staff with a ‘private sanctuary’ in which to express their breast milk. According to Northumbria, it is the first trust in the region to offer these facilities to the workforce.

The trust said its individually designed rooms, which feature comfortable seating and a fridge, ‘ensures that all members of staff who are breastfeeding are given the time to express their milk, without having to use their personal break time’.

RCN calls for FFP3 masks for all

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called for all healthcare workers to be provided with FFP3 masks when caring for patients who are known or suspected to have COVID-19.

Patricia Marquis, RCN Director for England, said: “Too many nursing staff are exposed to COVID-19 at work due to improper protection – highest grade FFP3 masks and priority testing need to be provided as standard.”

The comments came as NHS England published new data on 7 January 2022, which showed that the number of hospital staff off work due to COVID-19 rose by almost 60 per cent in the most recent week. 

Blood sample detects risk of pre-eclampsia

A new study has found that a single blood sample can detect which women are at risk of pre-eclampsia, potentially helping to identify complications before the onset of symptoms

The work involved researchers from King’s College London (KCL) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the biotech company Mirvie.

The project examined how genetic material from blood samples can help predict pregnancy complications, and involved researchers taking 2,500 samples from eight cohorts that ‘included multiple ethnicities, nationalities, socioeconomic contexts and geographic locations’. 

Professor Rachel Tribe, from KCL’s Department of Women and Children’s Health, the School of Life Course & Population Sciences, commented: “I am delighted to be involved in this important collaborative effort to develop a new tool to predict pre-eclampsia. Using a cutting-edge sequencing approach, we were able to detect cell free RNA (cfRNA) in the blood of pregnant women. These provided a molecular signature that can be used to identify women at risk of pre-eclampsia.”

Bradford Hospitals reveals £300k donations boost

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has shared that its official charity partner – Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – spent more than £300,000 in donations last year.

Thanks to fundraising and donations, the charity was able to support both patients and staff in a variety of ways. Across 2021 it used the funds to spend around £147,000 on patient welfare, £114,00 on staff welfare, £27,000 on medical equipment, and £26,000 on gifts in kind.

Projects included: providing toys, books, equipment and ‘memory making materials; for young patients; child-friendly privacy screens; additional ECG monitors; patient Wi-Fi; training aids; two secure cycle storage hubs; and furniture for staff rooms.

Blackpool open to views on new five-year strategy

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking for patient and community input into the development of its new five-year strategy.

The trust is holding a series of virtual listening events to find out what matters most to patients past and present , to share its plans, and to to garner feedback.

The sessions take place on 18 and 29 January 2022. To find out more about how to book a place, visit the Eventbrite page.

West Yorkshire cultural competency training

West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership is offering cultural competency training to staff and volunteers at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

The training aims to help participants to learn more about equality, equity, diversity, intersectionality and unconscious bias, in the ‘context of personalised care’.

The two dedicated sessions will take place over Zoom. For more information, email