Palliative care and genetics teams awarded Charity grants

Congratulations to the Specialist Supportive and Palliative Care team and the Clinical Genetics and Genomics department at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, who have been awarded funding via the Clinical Academic Career Development Programme (CACDP).

Co-funded by the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity, the programme supports nurses, midwives, Allied Health Professionals, healthcare scientists, pharmacy staff and psychologists (NMAHPP) staff to work in junior clinical academic roles at RBHH for one year, within clinical departments at the hospitals.

CACDP allows individuals to undertake a role which is 50% research and 50% clinical, with the research component supported by this funding scheme and the clinical component funded by the department where the staff member will work.

The programme was created by a team of senior clinical academics including consultant nurse Catherine Renwick. She said:

“The second year of applications to the Clinical Academic Career Development Programme resulted in several strong applications, demonstrating research and clinical academic development commitment across non-medical professionals within our hospitals.

“We are delighted that there were a number of nursing submissions this year highlighting a variety of innovations to develop research for patient benefit, whilst establishing nurse research leaders, in line with the Chief Nursing Officer England’s strategic plan for research (2021).”

Read more about the recipients of the programme below.

Specialist Supportive and Palliative Care team

The recipient of this award has not yet been recruited, however, the postholders clinical role will involve providing holistic assessments of patients who are thought to be in the last year of life, last days of life.

David Smith, lead nurse for supportive and palliative care, who submitted the application, said:

“I am thrilled to hear that our application has been successful. This funding will enable the postholder to evaluate the impact of current interventions used to help manage the debilitating symptom of breathlessness and develop an approach tailored to the needs of patients at our hospitals.

“I feel this award is recognition of the value of the work that the Supportive and Palliative care team does with patients at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, and I am delighted for the team.”

Dr Anna Reed, transplant and respiratory consultant, will be supporting the postholder in the research aspect of their role. She said:

“Symptoms of breathlessness in end-stage heart and lung disease can be both debilitating and terrifying. We have amassed significant expertise over the years in the management of symptoms in these patient groups.

“This project offers an opportunity for the palliative care nursing team to consolidate their experience and contribute to the development of best practice guidelines and new research. I congratulate David and his team and look forward to supporting this project as it progresses.”

Genetics and Genomics Laboratory

Funding was awarded to support Samuel Wilkinson, senior genetic technologist, who works in the Clinical Genetics and Genomics department, which provides diagnostic genetic testing for families and individuals at risk of inherited cardiac and respiratory conditions.

His clinical role involves participating in all aspects of the clinical service as well as overseeing lab work and implementing new technologies to aid with samples processing.

Samuel said he is “incredibly grateful to the CACDP team for awarding me this opportunity as it will provide dedicated time for research and development of new ideas for the department.”  

Thanks to the CACDP funding, Samuel will also be working on a research project which aims to develop an accurate method of measuring telomere length in patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.

Telomeres are sections of DNA found at the ends of each of our chromosomes which form a protective “cap” at the end. Telomeres naturally become shorter with ageing, however premature telomere shortening also occurs in certain clinical conditions. Telomere length measurement is therefore an important diagnostic tool both for differential diagnosis, prognosis and in the case of pulmonary fibrosis, for therapeutic management.

Dr Deborah Morris-Rosendahl, consultant clinical scientist & head of clinical genetics, will be supervising Samuel. She said:

“This clinical academic development award to Sam is not only going to help him further develop his academic career but is also going to enable our lab to continue with the important research work and assay development that has already been initiated.”

Read more of our research stories.