Two Darzi fellowships to help shape the future of cystic fibrosis care

Darzi fellowships

Royal Brompton’s adult cystic fibrosis (CF) team are celebrating after being awarded two Darzi fellowships in clinical leadership. 

Jorge Meira, CF nurse specialist, and Dr Kate McLaren, who joins the team for her fellowship, have both been selected for the prestigious leadership programme which was set up by Lord Darzi to help established clinicians into leadership. Fellows generally undertake one main project, with a focus on improving the care provided by the NHS.

Jorge Meira – improving how we use data for patients on a national scale

Jorge’s project is being run jointly with the CF Trust, and will see him working with CF centres throughout the UK. The main aim of Jorge’s project is to make it easier for clinicians to enter data into the national CF registry – hosted by the CF Trust. The registry is used to improve the health of people with CF through research, guide quality improvement programmes and monitor the safety of new drugs.

Jorge said: “At the moment, when a patient has an annual review – a comprehensive health check, often taking most of a day – information from all the tests is entered into the hospital patient administration system. This includes their medicines, how they’ve responded to treatment, their lung function, oxygen saturation levels and so on. The challenge is that the data then has to be re-entered again, manually, into the national CF registry.”

Jorge’s project will involve scoping how CF centres across the country are collecting and entering data, and how the process could be made more efficient and accurate. He will also look at the potential for information in the CF registry to be made more accessible to patients, including improvements to the visual dashboard that they can look at with their clinicians during appointments.

Dr Kate McLaren – expanding the possibilities of blood testing at home

As part of the adult CF team’s pioneering initiative to provide more care to people with CF at home, Kate will be looking at building on the hospital’s partnership with the company Thriva, which gives patients the opportunity to have home blood tests.

At the moment, Thriva test for things like blood sugar levels, liver function, and medication levels. Kate will be working with the company, and our own laboratories where the tests are validated, to see whether further tests could be expanded to include things such as antifungal medication levels. These tests are not currently available by post, anywhere in the UK.

Dr McLaren said: “Royal Brompton is the first hospital in the NHS to implement and validate Thriva’s novel finger-prick capillary blood sampling method and I’m hoping that, by adding to the range of tests they can carry out for people with CF, we can further reduce the time and inconvenience they spend coming to hospital for appointments. I’m very excited to be involved in harnessing modern technology to improve patient experience and care.” 

Dr Su Madge, consultant nurse and associate director of the Trust’s adult CF service, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Jorge and Kate are undertaking their Darzi fellowships with the adult CF multi-disciplinary team at Royal Brompton. We hope, not only to improve the services and care that we currently provide for adults with CF, but also share this with colleagues throughout the UK, now and for future.”