Working in the specialist Trust brings with it a responsibility to innovate and break new ground in treatment and research. In an effort to share examples of exceptional patient care and research breakthroughs, the Trust's communications team works closely with newspapers, television and radio broadcasters, digital and social media and other channels. Here are some examples of coverage during 2016/17:
CNN’s medical programme ‘Vital Signs’ was invited into Harefield’s transplant theatres to report on how the team routinely uses organ retrieval technology when carrying out heart transplants. Mr André Simon, director of transplantation, explained how Harefield surgeons are leading the way with this innovative technique.
Speech and language therapist Julia Selby helped BBC presenter Nick Robinson regain his voice after successful lung cancer surgery at Royal Brompton, prompting widespread praise in the national media. Features in the Daily Mail and i newspaper described Julia’s “heroic work”, explaining how her skill and expertise enabled him to get back to his role as a political correspondent in time to report on the general election.
Presenter Dr Michael Mosley visited Royal Brompton for a BBC Horizon programme on e-cigarettes. Dr Mosley visited Royal Brompton’s specialist airway lab and met consultant respiratory physician Dr Omar Usmani and respiratory research nurse Sally Meah, for lung function tests. Dr Usmani detected subtle short-term damage to Michael Mosley’s airways and explained how more research was needed to establish the true impact of e-cigarettes.
The latest novel treatment being trialled at Royal Brompton for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was featured in the Daily Mail. The paper reported a trial by consultant respiratory physician Professor Pallav Shah, for patients with chronic bronchitis. Click here for more on this trial.
Dr Omar Usmani from Royal Brompton’s specialist chronic cough clinic provided expert comment on different types of cough and appropriate treatments. Dr Usmani told the Daily Mail that diagnosis hinges on whether the cough is productive or non-productive (i.e. whether a person is coughing up sputum), and described various symptoms of underlying conditions.
The first UK patient to benefit from a new cutting-edge procedure to treat mitral valve disease, carried out at Royal Brompton by consultant cardiac surgeon Mr Neil Moat and imaging specialist Dr Alison Duncan, was featured in the Daily Mail. To read more about the Harpoon device and the experience of patient Jennie Keefe, click here.
Dr Andrew Menzies-Gow, clinical lead for the lung division, discussed the new drug benralizumab for a Daily Telegraph report. The drug is part of a new wave of biological treatments for people with severe asthma, designed to treat the underlying cause of the disease, rather than its symptoms, and Dr Menzies-Gow spoke of the benefits it could have for those with the condition.
Harefield transplant patient Kieran Sandwell, who donated his old heart to Royal Brompton to assist with research into congenital heart disease, spoke to the Evening Standard after visiting the hospital to see his old heart being used. For full details are click here.
A new therapy that corrects the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis and could transform treatment, trialled by patients at the Trust, attracted widespread media attention. The drug Orkambi slows irreversible lung damage by more than 40 per cent. Professor Stuart Elborn, director of Royal Brompton’s adult cystic fibrosis service, said: "I'm really excited by the therapy and also the pipeline of other powerful drugs that could get us closer to a cure." The trial was covered by the Daily Mail, BBC and nearly 300 regional media titles. Click here for more about this trial.
Dr James Hull, consultant in respiratory medicine at Royal Brompton, shared his expertise on hypersensitivity pneumonitis and misdiagnosis of asthma with the Daily Mail. In an article highlighting the impact allergies can have on the lungs, Dr Hull explained the common causes of wheeziness and how people can control their inflammations to avoid any further damage.
In a feature with the Guardian, honorary consultant chest physician and clinical lead for COPD, Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, discussed how prompt diagnosis of the disease could save patients from its worst effects. Meanwhile, Dr Alexander Lyon, consultant cardiologist, provided expert commentary to the Daily Mail on the latest research on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The Brompton Fountain charity delivered a giant Christmas card to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, asking him to overturn plans to decommission congenital heart services at Royal Brompton. The card, signed by hundreds of patients, their families and supporters, featured on BBC London News and in the Evening Standard, and highlighted Royal Brompton’s excellent outcomes when caring for children with complex cardiac conditions.
At Harefield, cystic fibrosis patient Kimberly Chard underwent a double lung transplant and featured in a BBC One Wales documentary series on organ donation, ‘The Greatest Gift’.
Professor Fan Chung, professor of respiratory medicine, spoke to BBC London News about how air pollution can affect people’s health, following a report that found diesel cars can be more polluting than diesel lorries.
The Trust’s reputation for innovative care was highlighted with articles in the Nursing Times, Nursing Standard and Daily Mail on a special bra designed by a nursing team to help women recover from cardiac surgery. The bra, designed by clinical nurse specialist in surveillance Melissa Rochon, is a solution to promote
better wound healing for women who are recovering from cardiac surgery (click here for more details).
Dr Isabel Skypala, consultant dietitian and clinical lead for food allergy, spoke to BBC World Service about common food allergies for the ‘Food Chain’ programme, which focused on smoothies, juices and ‘liquid food’. The interview was also covered by BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 4.
Dr Sanjay Prasad, consultant in cardiology and cardiovascular magnetic resonance, was interviewed live on BBC News about new research on inherited heart disease, following reports that singer George Michael was suffering from cardiomyopathy before his death.
Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, former director of transplantation at Harefield, told the Evening Standard that plans to decommission congenital heart disease services from Royal Brompton were a “crime”, telling the paper the hospital “has been a lead hospital in the world on congenital heart disease”.
One of the largest hay fever trials of its kind found that being exposed to controlled doses of pollen over three years led to a significant improvement in symptoms. The study, led by Professor Stephen Durham, clinical lead for allergy services at Royal Brompton and head of allergy and clinical immunology at Imperial College’s National Heart and Lung Institute, received extensive coverage including The Sun, The Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph and BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World at One’.
Royal Brompton’s children’s ward and children’s intensive care unit invited the Guardian to spend two days talking to patients, parents and staff, to give readers a rare insight into a “typical day” in children’s intensive care. The photo essay was published online and in the prestigious ‘Eyewitness’ double-page spread across the print edition’s centre pages, and was followed by a live blog about the impact closing the CHD service would have on patients.
The Trust was listed in the top 10 Trusts with the best manager engagement rates, in a Health Service Journal (HSJ) feature on the annual NHS staff survey results. The HSJ is a specialist publication that reaches an audience of 17,000 healthcare professionals.