The NHS was born some 70 years ago in the aftermath of the Second World War and the appalling depression of the 1930s. It has been described as the world’s greatest humanitarian movement, providing healthcare to everyone regardless of their ability to pay, solely on their basis of need.

Over that time the NHS has become quintessentially British, a part of our way of life, the institutional embodiment of “fair play” and an essential part of the glue that holds our society together. Its fundamental purpose is the same today as it was then and over time it has delivered world-class healthcare. For most of its existence it has been the envy of the world.

However, the challenges facing the NHS today are very different from those it faced 70 years ago. There are three factors in particular.

First, the population is much older with many people suffering from multiple long- term conditions. Too many of these people spend too much of their time in hospital, particularly towards the end of their lives, when they can be better cared for at home or in the community. We need to change radically the way we deliver social care and end-of-life care.

We must move urgently towards a more integrated care system and end the historic divide between health and social care.

Second, mental health. For far too long mental health has been the Cinderella of the health service. It is at last emerging from the Dark Ages. It is shocking that it has taken so long. For most of the last 70 years it has been stigmatised and hidden behind a veil of indifference. At last we are recognising not just its prevalence but also the depth of the misery it causes: not just to individual sufferers but also to their families. The duality of physical and mental health needs to be addressed and the resources that go into conditions like heart disease and cancer should be matched by mental health. There is a long way to go.

Finally, technology. We are on the cusp of a breakthrough in the way we diagnose and treat many illnesses that have previously been regarded as incurable. The convergence of data science with medical science will be transformational. At UCLH, we have a massive opportunity to be the world leader in this field, resulting

in much earlier diagnosis and more personalised medicine. Genomics and artificial intelligence, separately and together, offer to healthcare what the internet offers to communications.

There is no doubt in my mind that over time health and social care will consume a growing proportion of government spending. We desperately need a political consensus around the right level of spending. The NHS cannot run properly in fits and starts. It needs a long-term settlement. If we can achieve that consensus, the future of the NHS and the care system will be secure for another 70 years.

Lord Prior of Brampton, Chairman, UCLH

Celebrating excellence

Singer Paloma Faith with deputy neonatal sister Wendy Hill, an “exceptional human being”

Singer Paloma Faith paid tribute to UCLH’s wonderful workforce at our annual staff awards.

She praised the “amazing” care she received at University College Hospital while she was having her first child, where the “devotion, kindness and commitment” shown by our doctors, nurses and midwives had left her “humbled”.

The BRIT award-winning artist invited some of those who treated her to sit at her table and presented deputy neonatal sister Wendy Hill with an “exceptional human being award”.

In a message to Wendy, she said: “Wendy is a beaming light of capability and upbeat positivity.

“Not only did Wendy manage to make the whole ward run like clockwork and the whole team happy, she took the time to see and speak to all her patients and knew everyone by name.

When you have had your first baby ... and someone seems to know exactly what to say and how to say it, it’s the best thing in the world.

Our Celebrating Excellence Awards recognise, reward and thank our staff for their dedication to providing the best possible care to the one million- plus patients they see each year.

More than 1,000 nominations were received, with compassionate nurses and nursing assistants, world-class researchers and devoted domestics among those honoured.

These include Adan Hussein, a domestic employed by our partner Interserve, pictured right. A Dutch citizen living in the UK and originally from Somalia, he speaks at least five languages and is often asked to welcome new members of staff.

Our chief executive Marcel Levi thanked UCLH Charity for funding the awards, which he described as “a standout moment” of the year, adding “we recognise the great work of all our finalists with pride”.

A winners story

David Brealey

When David Brealey heard he’d been nominated for the Contribution to World-Class Research Award, he phoned up to check it wasn’t a mistake.

He said: “I couldn’t figure it out, I’m not a professor or someone with a prestigious fellowship. Everything I do is as part of a team and it’s really important that is recognised.”

David, who features on our front cover, is an Intensive Care consultant and leads research into improving the care of the critically ill.

In the past eight years he and his team have carried out studies involving more than 2,500 patients and covering topics from stem cells to sepsis, making them one of the most productive in the world.

The judges said he approached his research with “great enthusiasm, passion and commitment”.

David said: “Anyone can do research. It needs an idea, time, effort and a bit of money but none of that is impossible. It gets you out of the groove, gives you a glimpse into the future and gets you thinking about why we do what we do.”

Other winners in (no particular order)

The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital pre-assessment team: winner of our Improving Award and a “shining example” of adaptation
  • Safety Award: Betsey Lau-Robinson (Head of Safeguarding)
  • Safety Award: Betsey Lau-Robinson (Head of Safeguarding)
  • Kindness Award: Carlton Thomas (Therapy assistant)
  • Teamwork Award: Emergency Department nursing team
  • Patient-nominated Award: Deborah Hodes (Consultant paediatrician)
  • Top-quality Patient Care Award: Sally Thorpe (Clinical nurse specialist, Gastrointestinal Services)
  • Chairman’s Medal for Excellence in Education and Training: Daron Smith (Consultant urological surgeon)
  • Volunteer Award: Amanda Tata
  • Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award: Ernest Sarfo (Telecoms engineer)
  • Junior Doctor/Dentist of the Year Award: Raj Shah (Junior doctor, Anaesthetics)
  • Allied Health Professional and Pharmacy Colleague of the Year: Karen Conroy (Cancer Centre dispensary manager)
  • Nurse or Midwife Leader of the Year: Debra Kroll (Senior midwife)
  • Chief Executive’s Outstanding Leadership Award: Robert Duke (Associate Director of Medical and Dental Education)
  • Chairman’s Achievement Award: Elaine Thorpe (Intensive Care matron)
The winner of our International Award, Adan Hussein, whose “easy rapport” makes him a pleasure to work with


A time capsule capturing the essence of the NHS in its 70th year has been buried in our new Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals building.

Patients Joe Palmer, 14, who has hypodontia and is missing 10 adult teeth, and Jeanann Doyle, who had a cochlear implant, placed mementoes of their care in the capsule.

Also preserved are dental moulds, penicillin and X-ray scans. Airtight and watertight, it is designed to stand the test of time and should not be dug up until 2088.

Joe, who will be 84 then, said: “Without the help of the Eastman Dental Hospital, I wouldn’t be able to smile or eat properly and I’d have no confidence. My life would be very difficult.”

Jeanann, 30, heard raindrops land on her umbrella for the first time in 25 years after a cochlear implant allowed her to hear clearly again.

She said: “I am so proud and blessed to have the hospital team around me. My life has changed so much for the better. It is like I have been born again with new ears.”

The new facility, which is due to open next year, brings together the services provided at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and Eastman Dental Hospital (EDH) in Gray’s Inn Road.

The Huntley Street building is on the site of the old Royal Ear Hospital, where cochlear implants were developed 35 years ago. Since then almost 1,500 adults and children’s lives have been transformed by the RNTNEH teams.

UCLH chairman Lord Prior said: “With the NHS turning 70 this year, we are celebrating all of the fantastic care and treatment these two hospitals have innovated over the decades.

“As we look forward, I am confident this new facility will provide a wonderful new home fit for 21st century healthcare, where further developments and innovations will continue to improve patient care.”


  • It will take around 30 months to construct the new building.
  • 819 tonnes of steel reinforcement is used in the frame.
  • Construction company Mace’s previous projects include The Shard, the British Museum and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
  • Up to 240 people work on site each day.
  • A small public park is being built by Camden Council to provide quiet space on the corner of Capper Street and Tottenham Court Road.
  • The building is designed to work for people who may have hearing loss, sensory needs or require special care dental services.


The treatment of brain cancer hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Could a trial at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery break this stalemate?

The most exciting and important trial for brain cancer patients in the last 15 years is about to begin at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of UCLH.

Patients with glioblastoma, one of the most common brain tumours, will be given a drug that has transformed the lives of some people with skin cancer.

Chief investigator Paul Mulholland, said: “There are around 2,200 new cases of glioblastoma each year in England alone.

“Following surgery and radiotherapy, there is just one drug licensed for treatment. Patients who are fit enough to receive this treatment survive just 14 months, on average, after diagnosis."

If the drug we are trialling works, it will be a vital step in changing brain tumour treatment for the better.

The drug due to be trialled, ipilimumab, is an immunotherapy – a treatment that harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer.

Immunotherapies tend to be expensive, can produce severe side-effects and do not work for everyone. But when they do work, the results are dramatic.

For instance, someone with melanoma skin cancer is twice as likely to live for five years if they are given ipilimumab.

Skin and brain tumours are surprisingly similar at the genetic level, and ipilimumab has already been shown to shrink melanoma tumours that have spread to the brain.

With this in mind, Dr Mulholland is keen to see if the drug can help patients with glioblastoma.

Around 120 people will take part in the trial, which is being funded by drug company Bristol-Myers Squibb and The National Brain Appeal and will take place at up to seven British hospitals, led by UCLH.

All patients will have the conventional treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy but 80 will also be given ipilimumab.

Dr Mulholland, a medical oncologist, said: “Ipilimumab has transformed the lives of some people with skin cancer and may even have cured them.

There haven’t been any new drugs for brain cancer for far too long. Even a small increase in survival would be a great success.


Molly Lane Fox was a beautiful, fun-loving four-year- old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Although radiotherapy bought some precious and happy time with her family, tragically Molly died just after her fifth birthday.

Her parents felt passionately that nobody should have to go through what their daughter endured and, with The National Brain Appeal, set up Molly’s Fund in her memory.

This raised £1 million towards Britain’s first dedicated brain tumour ward, which opened at the NHNN in 2011. Recently another £500,000 was raised, allowing the ward, which provides rapid assessment and treatment, to more than double in size.

Specialist surgeons, doctors, nurses, therapists and psychologists provide dedicated care to its 26 patients.

The Molly Lane Fox unit also plays a vital role in brain tumour research.


Keen to find out more about research? Why not come along to our open day?

University College Hospital’s atrium will be transformed into a giant laboratory, with 50 stalls showcasing exciting developments in clinical research.

You can find out about hi-tech developments in imaging, how researchers are finding ways to get the human body to fight cancer for itself and how surgeons can now operate on babies in the womb to treat rare diseases.

You will also have a chance to take part in competitions and games, such as finding out if you have the steady hand of a surgeon, go on tours and listen to talks.

  • Come and celebrate research with us from 2.30-5.30pm on Thursday 5 July in University College Hospital atrium!


As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday, we’d like to celebrate the great work our hospitals do every day of every year. Here, our archivist Annie Lindsay takes us on a fascinating photographic tour of UCLH’s hospitals, past and present.

Please click on the images to enlarge them.


Bruce Paton, Specialist physiotherapist at the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health, tells us why physiotherapy has proved to be the perfect career.

My day starts at…

5.45am. I read the newspaper and research articles over coffee and a croissant and listen to music and catch up on emails on the train to work.

My job involves…

Might have a clinic with our orthopaedic surgeons in the morning. We order scans, help patients decide if they need an operation, follow them up after their surgery and ensure they are getting the best possible rehab. Some patients, particularly athletes, are too active and you really have to hold them back. Then you get patients who have never done much exercise or been in a gym before and we help them learn to exercise and get stronger.

After lunch, I might have a physio clinic. It’s much better to get patients to exercise here than send them home with a list of exercises and it’s quite amazing seeing how the body can change. We can take almost anybody and find something that will make them fitter and stronger.

How I become a physio…

I actually wanted to do medicine but places were limited in Australia, where I studied, so I started a science degree. I then switched to physiotherapy and settled in London more than 20 years ago. I’ve completed a PhD, worked at the Olympics and Paralympics and helped set up the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health – a concrete legacy of the 2012 Games. I’m glad now that I didn’t study medicine but found something that was more right for me.

The best thing about my job is…

I work with my mind, I work with my hands, I work with people and it’s never boring. It’s a fantastic job.

The worst thing is…

That there aren’t enough hours in the day!

After work…

I run six miles home two or three nights a week. I also like hillwalking, skiing, cycling and swimming and do triathlons. And I am learning how to make bread with my eight-year-old daughter, which is great fun.

  • Celebrating its fifth birthday this year, the ISEH is a lasting legacy of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • From world-class athletes to “weekend warriors”, the state-of-the-art facilities offer the same level of care.
  • A partnership between UCLH, HCA Healthcare UK, UCL, the English Institute of Sport and the British Olympic Association, it treats NHS and private patients under the same roof.
  • Has consulting and treatment rooms, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray machines and a physiotherapy gym.
  • Is involved in research aimed at increasing exercise in the community, reducing illness due to inactivity and helping elite athletes go for gold.

Information at our fingertips

We are designing a system that will bring all the information about a patient’s care together in a single electronic health record. This means that anyone in your care team will have access to the latest information in one place.

At the moment, information is kept in your paper notes and a number of systems around our hospitals. Having it all together will help us improve your care.

Your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone in your care team will be able to see your care history and the most recent information you’ve shared with us.

This means that rather than asking you the same information over and over again, we will simply need to check that it is still right. It will also help us to reduce the time we spend on admin and focus on the care we deliver.

Getting you to see the right people, sooner

As part of our new electronic health record system due in April 2019, we plan to also offer patients access to an online portal via their computer, smartphone or tablet.

This app will allow patients to access their data safely and securely, to help manage and improve their conditions and communicate with their care team.

Dr Damon Kamming, a consultant anaesthetist who is helping design the new system, said: “Being both a patient and a doctor here, I have experienced care from both sides.

“The patient portal will help patients manage and improve their condition, improve communication with healthcare teams and make it easier for staff to deliver care.”

Over the next year we will be working with our patients and clinicians to establish exactly what information and functions should be included in the portal.

But it doesn’t stop there. A single and secure electronic health record means we can build up a picture of different conditions, their causes, treatments and

results over time. It means we can use this information to find new treatments and improve care now and in the future.

Patients will need to give consent for their data to be used in this way. All information will be de-identified and patients can opt out at any time.

If you are interested in getting involved in shaping our future, please contact the Patient and Public Involvement Team at ppi@uclh.nhs.uk

We are working with Epic, a market leader in developing and implementing integrated health record technology, to design and build our new system. Atos, our digital transformation partner, will be upgrading the IT infrastructure staff will use when the new system is switched on in April 2019.


Become a governor and make a difference!

We have eight vacancies on our Council of Governors. This important group is involved in everything from improving the experience of our patients to appointing members to the Board of Directors.

Open to UCLH members aged 18 and over, it’s a simple self- nomination process. The vacancies are:

  • 1 public governor (London resident)
  • 4 patient governors (3 London residents and 1 living outside London)
  • 3 staff governors (1 nurses & midwives, 1 medical & dental, 1 non-clinical)

Nominations open on Monday 30 April and close at 5pm on Tuesday 29 May.

For more information, please contact Jessica Haddrell, Membership Manager, at uclh.governors@nhs.net or on 020 3447 9290.


  • Ataxia - disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech: Monday 14 May, 2-4pm Professor. Paola Giunti, UCL Institute of Neurology
  • Bowel cancer screening: Thursday 21 June, 2-4pm. Dr Lesley McGregor and Dr Christian von Wagner, UCL Department of Behavioural Science and Health

There will be a Meet Your Governor session after each MembersMeet (4-4.30pm), all members welcome.

Sign up by phone 020 3447 9290, email uclh.members@nhs.net, or visit www.uclh.nhs.uk/membersmeet

Annual Member's Meeting

On Monday 23 July, UCLH chief executive Marcel Levi will outline our achievements from the last year and the challenges ahead. Dr Edward Wild and Mr Greg Shaw will speak about their research.

Tim Jaggard, our finance director, will present the annual accounts and finance report and lead governor Claire Williams will share the annual governor highlights.

The meeting runs from 3-6pm and booking is essential. You must be a UCLH member (all staff are members) to attend.

MembersMeets and the Annual Members’ Meeting are held in the Education Centre, 1st Floor, 250 Euston Road, NW1 2PG (unless otherwise stated).

To book, email uclh.members@nhs.net, call 020 3447 9290 or visit www.uclh.nhs.uk/membersmeet

Research open event

Thursday 5 July, 2.30-5.30pm, University College Hospital atrium.

You’re invited to a fantastic exhibition to showcase research and innovation at UCLH and to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations. Scientists will be hosting lots of interactive displays featuring the latest technology and techniques to tackle major health conditions!

Support UCLH Charity in this memorable year

Celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday by supporting UCLH. From bake-offs to bike rides, money you raise will help us improve the care we can give to patients. Hold your own event, take part in a challenge or give a regular gift. You can choose where your money goes – to a ward, team or one of our building projects


Patricia with Nick Gilbert, head of charitable giving, UCLH, and Philip Brading, chief executive, UCLH Charity

Patricia Fraser’s husband Graham was a consultant otolaryngologist at UCLH from 1971 until his death in 1994 aged 57.

“The Graham Fraser Foundation is delighted to contribute to the costs of building and equipment for the Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals. A designated area may be named after him, which would be very special – seven members from five generations of my family having trained and/or worked at UCLH.”

Zoe with TV doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken at the finish line of the 2016 bike ride

UCLH strategic communications manager Zoe Ward hadn’t owned a bike for almost 20 years before she agreed to take part in a Manchester to London cycle ride.

“The patients and families I meet are an inspiration, I think about them when the training gets tough and it keeps me going.”

Dan with UCLH honorary consultant Muntzer Mughal

Dan Joyce ran the Paris and London marathons within two weeks of each other. “My motivation was simple – if my fiancée Bianca and so many others can go through gruelling cancer treatments, I can run a couple of marathons. Finishing the events is one of the proudest moments of my life.”

UCLH Magazine is supported by

Contact us

If you have any information you would like included in UCLH Magazine, contact:

Communications Unit, 2nd Floor Central, 250 Euston Road, London NW1 2PG

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.