A legacy fit for our RFL heroes

Donations that flooded in from supporters of the Royal Free Charity during the pandemic have helped to refurbish five rooms at the Royal Free London Hospital in to improved spaces for ICU staff to take vital breaks during their gruelling shifts.

The ICU REST rooms (Resilience and Emotional Support Areas) in ICU join 11 other spaces for staff which have been furnished or improved from the Royal Free Charity’s COVID-19 appeal.

This project saw the Royal Free Charity and the Royal Free London working closely together to identify areas of most need, areas where the charity’s supporters can make the biggest difference on the ground.

Speaking at the opening of the four ICU team rooms and the wellbeing room at hospital, chief executive, Kate Slemeck, said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is so important. Healthy and happy staff enable us to deliver good care to our patients.”

ICU matron Sinead Hanton, spoke to her staff about what they felt they needed to help them perform better and then worked alongside the estates team at the trust to make it happen.

She said: “We now have a really decent amount of space. Before we were so cramped that staff were eating their food on their laps on furniture that, putting it politely, had seen better days. Staff’s jaws literally dropped when they came in because they were so amazed to see the difference.

Alpa Patel, who led on the project for the trust, said: “We’ve spent a bit more time and money to make a real difference and provide a lasting legacy for staff. We’ve even included a panel of rainbow art in each room as a reminder of what everyone went through.”

Richard Scarth, interim chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “As part of our COVID-19 appeal these fantastic newly refurbished and additional facilities for the inspirational staff in ICU have been made possible This is thanks to the generosity of the Royal Free Charity’s donors and fundraisers during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

“Hundreds upon hundreds of the charity’s supporters, from across the communities served by Royal Free London and from beyond, stepped up to donate thousands of pounds to support our front line heroes. We understand how important staff well-being is to improving the patient experience and we are delighted to have been able to help in this way.”