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Recipe book launched to raise funds for our Hospital Heroes Appeal

A book of recipes to raise funds for our Help Your Hospital Heroes Appeal has been launched in Bath.

The Rainbow Recipe book, which contains recipes from residents and well-known Bath public figures, has been created by Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst MBE, a former NHS worker of 25 years and Vice President of the The Forever Friends Appeal Charity.

Loraine’s idea for the book was inspired by seeing lots of her friends sharing bakes and home cooked meals during the lockdown on social media. She says “I noticed lots of my friends sharing photos and recipes on social media and seeing the pictures gave me the idea to collate the book and help raise money for the charity and hospital, which is very close to my heart.

“I approached some of my friends and local contacts and in the space of three weeks we have managed to pull this together. I am delighted to say that local people and businesses have sponsored the print costs of the book which means all the money from the sale of the books will go directly to the charity.

“I am also extremely grateful to Mark Norbury who designed the recipe book for free. Both his wife and son work in the theatres at the hospital, so this has been a meaningful project for him to be involved in as well. There are so many people who have generously, helped and supported the book project, I am truly thankful and just delighted that we are able to help give back to the front line workers in our City who have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe.”

Contributors to the Rainbow Recipe Book include chefs from local Bath restaurants and hotels, writer Bel Mooney, Amy Williams MBE, actor Simon Shepherd, The Mayor of Bath and BBC Points West reporters Ali Vowles and Imogen Sellers.

The Rainbow Recipe Book is £10 and can be purchased directly from Loraine via the Facebook page @rainbowrecipebook or by email loraine@morganbrinkhurstconsultancy.co.uk.

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RUH’s army of volunteers works through the coronavirus pandemic

Across the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, an invaluable band of volunteers is helping to keep the hospital running throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Independent charity The League of Friends of the RUH organises the majority of the volunteers at the Trust, filling a range of important roles across the hospital, from supporting patients and staff in departments such as A&E, to helping run the charity’s shop in the Atrium, its coffee shop and even litter picking around the hospital grounds.

Some of these volunteers have been able to continue to give their time to the RUH during the coronavirus pandemic, supported by nearly 100 new volunteers who have come forward to help support the hospital at this time.

One such volunteer is Gill Grady, who said she had no hesitation in offering to help the Friends of the RUH.

“When I saw how hard all the NHS staff are working right now, I thought it was the least I could do and would give something back,” she said. “I didn’t think twice about offering to help. I’m aware of the potential risks but I’m retired and live on my own, so I don’t feel as though I’m putting anyone else at risk.”

Gill is one of a number of volunteer housekeepers based in the Doctors’ Mess, a relaxing space away from the hustle and bustle of the busy hospital, where doctors can enjoy some much needed downtime and catch up with colleagues.

“I help to make sure the staff have refreshments like tea and coffee, that the chairs are spaced out for social distancing, that the sleeping area is tidy, and I’ll even do a bit of cleaning – just whatever I can do to help really,” she said.

“We appreciate them and they appreciate us. I’ll sometimes have a chat with one of the doctors at the end of their shift, and ask them how their day has been and how they are feeling. It’s nice to have that interaction and to be a listening ear in those situations.

“I really enjoy volunteering. It’s a win-win for me – I get to help out the doctors at the RUH at what is such a challenging time and feel that I’m giving something back at the same time.”

The RUH is also supported by volunteers from a range of other organisations, including Bath Hospital Radio, Alzheimer’s Society, Dorothy House, Pets as Therapy and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Forever Friends Appeal has also helped support the recruitment of new volunteers during the pandemic. Volunteer Keith Getheridge has been involved with fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal for many years, after his late wife Wendy was diagnosed with cancer.

Keith said: “When I saw the appeal for volunteers I was really eager to get involved. Knowing that COVID-19 was on the way, I thought that there might be a big gap in the number of volunteers at the RUH, so wanted to do what I could to help.

“I got in touch with the hospital straight away. I know my wife would have been at the front of the queue and I felt the same way. I really didn’t mind what I did, I just wanted to help. I took on a part-time housekeeping role in the Surgical Short Stay ward and work from 7.30am to 1.30pm, three days a week.”

Volunteer housekeepers support the ward-based cleaners by completing tasks within the kitchen around meals times, dusting the ward corridors and helping keep ward equipment clean.

“It’s not glamorous work, but there’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from helping to keep the ward clean, tidy and safe for patients,” said Keith. “The time goes quickly and there’s always something that needs to be cleaned or disinfected. It’s good to know that I’m helping and providing a very important role for the hospital.”

League of Friends of the RUH Volunteer Services Manager Samantha Nolan said: “This week is national Volunteers’ Week, when we say a very special thank you to all our volunteers for the work they do. Our volunteers do a fantastic job every day of the year helping patients and supporting the RUH.

“Volunteers’ Week is also an important time for us to think about the many volunteers who have had to temporarily stand down because of COVID-19 and look forward to the day we can welcome them back.”

The League of Friends is currently looking for volunteers to fill a range of vacancies at the hospital, such as in housekeeping and Estates-based roles. If you would like to volunteer, or find out more about the opportunities available, contact the Friends of the RUH office on 01225 824046 or visit www.friendsofhteruh.org.uk

You can watch a video about some of our volunteers here

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George goes to great heights to fundraise

At almost 84 years of age, George Harding is taking on a very tall challenge – every day for two weeks, he’s climbing a 60ft tree to raise money for his two favourite charities – The Forever Friends Appeal and Macmillan Cancer Support.

George lives in Bath and is a long standing volunteer for the hospital. He started climbing the tree in his back garden on Monday 18 May. It takes him around 45 minutes to reach the top and come back down. He came up with the idea because of the social distancing measures that are in place.

George said: “As it’s not possible for me to pursue my usual physical challenges of distance running, cycling or trekking for charity, I want to achieve something completely different. I am more than willing to go to great heights in my fundraising endeavors and I appeal to you all to help me by sponsoring my efforts with a donation.

“I am very fond of the tree that I’m climbing as it originally was my family’s Christmas tree for the festive period of 1969. The tree was only around three feet high when I planted it with the enthusiastic help of my three young sons.

“We all know and value the NHS and the incredible work they do in caring for our loved ones and friends and as cancer has affected the lives of many people including members of my family, the care and advice received from Macmillan Cancer Support has been invaluable and lifesaving.

“Therefore, in tribute and recognition to both charities I want to raise as much money as possible to help them continue to make the wonderful difference to the wellbeing of us all.”

So far George has raised over £400 each for The Forever Friends Appeal and Macmillan Cancer Support including donations on his Just Giving pages which you can find by searching ‘George’s Christmas Tree Climb Up’. He said: “I would be so grateful if you would kindly help me to raise funds for these two most worthy and incredible organisations by sponsoring me to do this challenge.”

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator said: “George is a dedicated volunteer and a passionate fundraiser for the Royal United Hospitals Bath. We are hugely thankful to George for taking his fundraising to the next level to support our staff, patients and their families at the hospital and we wish him the very best of luck with his challenge.”

The money raised by George for The Forever Friends Appeal will go towards the Oncology Services that are provided by a dedicated team of staff at the RUH. The funds raised will make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients cared for at the hospital, as well as the friends and family who visit them.

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Somerset Freemasons provides computer tablets for RUH patients

Ten computer tablets have been donated from the Somerset Freemasons for patients being cared for in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust.

David Medlock, Provincial Grand Master of the Somerset Freemasons said: “We are delighted to provide these tablets and we hope that by providing these tablets they will give some comfort to patients as they will be able to use video messaging and connect with their loved ones during their time in hospital.”

Margi Jenkins, RUH Critical Care Matron said: “With the current visiting restrictions in place, it makes it hard for patients and their relatives to communicate, so by having these tablets for them to use, it will go some way to ease that difficulty. Furthermore, we’ll use the tablets to help those who are unable to speak to communicate with our staff, as well as a source of entertainment for patients who start the process of coming off ventilation.”

As well as showing their support for the RUH, the Somerset Freemasons have also been helping provide free meals to people in Bath and North East Somerset, financial support to food banks and some Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), totalling over £45,000 of gifts in kind.

David said: “We have also been able to fund a further 10 tablets for the hospitals in Weston Super Mare, Taunton and Yeovil and a further five tablets have also been given to The Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and to a Masonic Care home in Exeter.

“As an organisation we are in the process of delivering over 1,000 computer tablets to hospitals throughout England and Wales. Like many other people during this challenging time, we all wanted to help as best we can.”

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Special memory boxes created for patients at RUH Bath

Creating special memories and keepsakes for patients nearing end of life and their families has been made possible thanks to donations made by the public to our Hospital Heroes Appeal.

Memory boxes have been created and will be delivered to every ward, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Emergency Department during this year’s national Dying Matters Awareness Week, 11-18 May.

Helen Meehan, (pictured above) Lead Nurse Palliative Care and End of Life Care said: “The coronavirus pandemic does present new challenges, but caring with compassion, kindness and respect are absolutely central to all that we do.

“Every patient matters and every family matters here at RUH Bath and we are so pleased to have the memory boxes. They will enable our staff to support patients nearing end of life and their families and we hope that the keepsakes and memories created will bring compassion, some connection and comfort.”

With the theme for this year’s Dying Matters week being ‘Dying to be Heard’, people are being encouraged to talk to their families, partners and friends and listen to their wishes if they want to talk about what is important to them. Conversations like these can be hard, but they are important to have.

Helen said: “When a loved one wants to talk about nearing end of life, it’s really important that we enable them to say what is important to them and that we listen as it will bring a shared understanding of what matters to them at this time.”

As well as helping patients create memories for their loved ones, the Trust has also introduced a ‘keeping in touch’ service and ‘virtual visiting’ by providing mobiles phones on all wards so families can spend time with their loved one, if they are unable to visit.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic over 150 RUH staff have received palliative care training and new COVID-19 resources have been developed by the Palliative Care Team to support staff on all wards so they can provide compassionate end of life care.

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NEW! Free online will service

We are pleased to have launched a free online Will-writing service to help the local community make or update their Wills from the comfort of their own homes.

To offer this service, we have partnered with Beyond, one of the UK’s top online Will-writing providers to provide the service. The cost for a single will is usually £90, but for a limited period it is being offered free of charge.

Jan Witt, Legacy and In Memory Manager said:

“We are delighted  to team up with Beyond to offer a free, quick and easy online Will writing service to the local community. We fully understand that during these uncertain times, many people are thinking about their current situation and wish to put their affairs in order. We are therefore pleased to offer this free online will service to enable everyone to make a Will, giving them peace of mind.

“This offer is free for a limited period and there is no obligation to leave a gift in your Will to support The Forever Friends Appeal. However, we hope you’ll be inspired to kindly leave a ‘gift of care’ in your Will, no matter what size, to help the RUH continue to provide the high quality of care it gives to its patients and their families for the future.”

Gifts in Wills for the RUH are used to benefit many areas of the hospital including funding pioneering research, additional medical equipment, building projects and the refurbishment of wards and facilities.

Beyond’s online interactive Will service provides easy step-by-step instructions means the process to make a legally binding simple Will should only take about 15 minutes. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible and joint Wills for married couples are also included in the offer. Every Will is checked by one of Beyond’s in-house legal experts.

Ian Strang, Beyond’s CEO said:

“Beyond are committed to protecting UK families by helping them easily write their wills online. We’re proud to partner with the charity, The Forever Friends Appeal and support the crucial work they perform for the communities of Bath.”

To take up the offer and for more details click here 

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New COVID-19 intensive care unit opens at RUH

A new intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients, built in just 42 days, has opened at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH).

The Pierce Intensive Care Unit has 14 beds available and, with the hospital’s existing intensive care unit, means the Trust now has space for 27 intensive care patients.

Trust Chief Executive James Scott said: “Our teams of staff and contractors have done an amazing job in creating this facility so quickly. Back in March we answered the call from the Department of Health to increase ICU capacity as part of the response to the COVID-19 global pandemic , and in just six weeks we’ve transformed and converted what was a surgical ward into one of the most sophisticated ICUs in the region.”

An improved feature of the new Pierce Intensive Care Unit’s 14 beds is that each is contained in a negative pressure environment – sealed areas with carefully controlled ventilation that prevents contaminated air from escaping the room – which maximises safety for staff and patients. Staff enter and exit via a separate room that acts as an airlock, helping to reduce the risk of infection.

ICU Lead Consultant Dr Andy Georgiou said: “This fantastic ICU is the only such facility in the South West. It allows us to do two things – firstly to expand our intensive care capacity from 13 to 27 beds, and secondly to separate the care we offer to intensive care patients. It means that if you are coming into intensive care having had, for example, a major operation, you can be confident in the knowledge that you will be cared for in a separate location to patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.

“We’re proud to open the unit and are really grateful to the Trust and our contractors and staff who have helped us to develop and build this facility in such a short space of time.”

James Scott said: “While the RUH has, thankfully, not experienced the number of positive COVID-19 patients seen in other parts of the country since the pandemic began, we have rightly followed Department of Health advice to make contingency plans. The new ICU’s extra capacity will allow the Trust to manage any future surge in intensive care demand, and also to plan for the future when more of our hospital services resume.”

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Two wheels for our NHS heroes

Thirty brand new bikes arrived today (Friday 1 May) at the Royal United Hospitals Bath as a special gift for our NHS heroes. The bikes were donated by BW Cycling, a Bristol-based company that wanted to help staff get to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

They will make a huge difference to staff who have been struggling to get to work on public transport because of reduced services and social distancing guidelines. The Trust organised a free draw and invited colleagues who would benefit of having a bike and the lucky winners were selected at random.

Andy Wadsworth, Co-owner of BW Cycling said:

“We are a small privately owned bike shop which can’t make ventilators or PPE but we have bikes to make transport easier. When we heard stories of frontline NHS staff working long shifts with some walking for over an hour to get to work and back because of reduced public transport and being unable to get a lift share, we thought we could help.

“We are very fortunate to have strong client relationships with local companies and Creo Medical has been very supportive in helping fund 100 bikes for NHS staff.  We’ve donated 50 bikes to RUH staff, the remaining 20 will be delivered next week and donated another 50 to staff at Southmead. It’s been a bit challenging with the logistics and social distancing but we’ve done it, much easier in comparison to what many NHS staff are having to deal with on a daily basis.”

As well as donating the bikes, the lucky winners also received a helmet, lights and a bike lock to ensure they can cycle safely.

Ben Ellis was entered into the draw by his colleagues Ashleigh Farmer and Zoe Lockton who work with him in the Emergency Department. When he found out he was a winner, he said: “Winning a bike was a big surprise as I did not know about the offer. I feel very privileged and look forward to being able to ride to work.”

Another winner, Jo Smith, Clinical Dietitian who lives in Southstoke said: “This will certainly help my journey to work – it’s either over an hour’s walk or try and catch two buses!”

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust would like to thank all businesses for their continued support of our staff and patients during this challenging time. Any businesses looking to make a donation should contact the hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal by email: forever.friends@nhs.net before making any deliveries.

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Recovered coronavirus patients thank RUH staff for their care and support

Two RUH patients who spent time in intensive care after contracting COVID-19 have returned home and thanked hospital staff for the ‘fantastic’ care they received.

Angie Shell, 61, from Trowbridge, was admitted to the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust after falling ill at home.

Angie said: “I had a cough and hadn’t been feeling well for a little while, but I have lupus and had put it down to that. I went to bed feeling a bit rough, but as the days went on I got worse and we made the decision to call for an ambulance.

“I was in the Respiratory Assessment Unit for two days and then taken to Parry ward, but my condition deteriorated and I was taken to the Intensive Care unit so I could be given oxygen.

“It was a very frightening time, but the doctors and nurses were unbelievable. They didn’t leave my side and were just wonderful.

“I don’t know how I can ever thank them enough. If I ever win the lottery, I know where the money’s going!

“They saved my life, it’s a simple as that. They are so brave, putting themselves at risk to help care for others. They are absolutely fantastic.”

Angie, a grandmother, is now back at home to continue her recovery. “I feel so much better than I did,” she said. “I’ve still got a bit of a cough and still get tired very quickly but I’m feeling better day by day. It’s a horrible virus but I want people to know that you can survive it.”

Angie’s husband David added: “The staff in the intensive care unit were fantastic. I wasn’t able to visit Angie, so stayed at home waiting for news. A couple of times I called the unit to find out how she was doing and I just fell to bits, but the staff were so supportive, so caring and it helped me to cope.”

Hugh Mullally, 65, from Bath, fell ill after returning home from a work trip to Europe.

He was taken to the RUH and within days was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

“I was intubated so that I could be placed on a ventilator. Then I was put into an induced coma. I had about 10minutes to say goodbye to my wife and read the notes that my children had written to me. It all seemed to have happened so quickly.

“I was on a ventilator for nine days in all before I began to recover. When I left the unit, all the staff came into the corridor and gave me a round of applause. I couldn’t believe it. It was very emotional.

“All the way through, from the moment I arrived at the RUH to the day I left, the care was just outstanding. All the staff were so professional and kind. They became like friends to me. I can’t speak highly enough of them. The hospital food was excellent too!

“I feel incredibly lucky that we have the NHS and will never forget the outstanding care and compassion that I received from the staff at the RUH.”

Hugh’s wife Karen said: “We all feel like the NHS has given us Hugh’s life back”

Hugh’s daughter Tara, who has been furloughed from her job, ran a staggering 10km every day he was in a coma, raising a massive £5,000 for NHS charities.

RUH Chief Executive James Scott said: “I’m delighted that Angie and Hugh are back home and wish them all the very best with their recovery. They are just two of more than 100 COVID-19 patients who have been well enough to leave the hospital and head home.

“I’m so incredibly proud of all our staff. They are facing unprecedented challenges and continue to provide our patients with the very best care.”

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Ed Jackson climbs Mount Everest…at home

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore who has raised millions for NHS Charities Together, Ed Jackson, former professional rugby player has set out to raise £10,000 for our charity and two others by climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest on his parents’ staircase.

We are in awe of what he’s set out to do and we wish him the best of luck with this challenge as we know Ed well. He was cared for at the RUH three years ago following an accident which left him with a broken neck. At the time he was told that he may not walk again, but after a gruelling recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals including the RUH, he made an amazing recovery and became one of our Therapies Matters ambassadors.

Ed said: “I managed to ditch the walker two years ago and despite my disability I have developed a weird obsession with climbing and I hope to be the first quadriplegic to climb Mount Everest. Obviously I can’t get to the mountains but I’ve decided to bring one here. I’m not really sure how much I’ve bitten off but those of you who have seen any of my climbing blogs before will know that thanks to my disability stairs are my nemesis.”

During the four day challenge, which started today (Tuesday 21 April), Ed will wear of the kit that he will take with him when he is able to travel to the Himalayas and will walk up and down the staircase 2,783 times, that’s 89,000 sets of individual steps.

Ed continued: “The money raised will be shared with The Forever Friends Appeal in support of the NHS. The incredible people of the NHS saved my life and got me back on my feet three years ago and now they’re making that difference for many more.

“Any donation no matter how small is massively appreciated because all of our charities need support at the moment and I hope together we can raise enough to make a real difference for these three.”

The other two charities that are close to Ed’s heart and will also receive a share of the funds are Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation and the Neverest Orthopaedics Foundation.

Ed hopes to finish the challenge around 6pm on Friday 24 April and we’ll be there to help him complete the last few flights of stairs.

If you would like to show your support to Ed, donations can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/edjackson8

You can stay up to date with Ed’s progress by following him on Twitter and on Instagram.


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