Harefield Hospital opens its doors to the public

Staff from Harefield Hospital’s cardio-thoracic theatres and catheter labs opened their doors to the local community to offer invaluable insight into what goes on in a cardio-thoracic specialist hospital. 

Over 500 people including former patients, local school pupils, medical students and Harefield residents were taken behind the scenes of the hospital’s world-famous cath labs and theatres to learn about the cutting-edge, life-saving technology and procedures used to treat patients every day. 

Clinical teams from across the hospital came together to host demonstrations and interactive workshops which simulated a variety of complex cardiac and thoracic procedures using special equipment and apparatus, such as: 

Visitors also got the opportunity to talk to representatives from NHSBT about the importance of organ donation; members of the Harefield Transplant Club about the support network available for transplant patients, and the Royal Brompton and Harefield Charity team who offered  insight into how they fund vital patient and staff services across the hospitals. 

Many former patients of the hospital also attended, getting the opportunity to meet the teams who were involved in their care. One of these patients was Brian, who had travelled from Ireland to be there. Brian had not returned to Harefield since his lung transplant at the hospital five years ago and was eager to attend the day to give a heart-felt thank you to the numerous teams that looked after him. On the day, Brian was re-united with his surgeon and the physiotherapists who were instrumental in Brian’s recovery. 

Talking about the Open Day Brian said, “I’ve never known another hospital to do anything like this. It’s wonderful,” He continued, “One of the main reasons why I came here today was to see and thank all of the teams that looked after me. It was especially nice to see the physios. When I was recovering, they helped keep our spirits up and we have so much to thank them for. I really feel part of this hospital.”

Local school children and students were also given the opportunity to learn some basic lifesaving skills and techniques, such as CPR, with many students expressing an ambition to pursue a medical career. Sally Norton, teacher at Dr Challoner’s High School, said: “Thank you for putting on such a warm, friendly, and informative event. I brought 28 Year 12 students from our school, all of them interested in a career in Medicine. Every single one of them enjoyed the event, learnt lots, and said it was incredibly useful. I’m already being asked by students and teachers when the next one is! Thank you.” 

One Year 12 student commented: “I really appreciated how all the healthcare professionals explained the procedures and diseases, keeping in mind our level of knowledge.” 

Clair Mullins, Theatre Manager and Julia Gangata, Cath Lab Deputy Manager, who organised the day, both agreed it was a success: "It was an extraordinary event that far exceeded our attendance expectations. Opening two very restricted areas of the hospital and showcasing our expertise, is a very unique and exciting opportunity for all involved. We were so impressed with the engagement of the attendees, and so pleased they learnt so much from our fantastic multi-disciplinary teams and supporting specialties."