Andrew Bickerdike, Trust Engagement Director, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Jul 04, 2018
I grew up caring for my mother. During those years, I was in contact with the NHS often. Earlier this year, I saw the life of a close family member saved by a team across two hospitals in Yorkshire.
Our health matters. It overrides and interrupts whatever else we are doing or planning, whoever we are. And when it does, having a health system that is based on need rather than ability to pay, matters.
As the fundraising charity for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest and most respected NHS trusts in the UK, we have a distinct role in the past, present and future of healthcare – not just in our patch in south London, but well beyond too.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, I’ve reflected on some of the things we’ve achieved together and the amazing experience of working for a charity supporting an NHS trust today.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has a long shared history with what is today Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. It stretches back far before 1948. Our predecessors worked to support the hospitals and health services here since the 12th Century. Today, we work to help deliver a great experience for the patients and families who attend Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Evelina London hospitals, and the many community sites that form the Trust. We also work to provide a great environment for the staff who care for them. The support we give helps the Trust go beyond what would otherwise be possible on NHS funding alone.
Over the past 70 years, Trust and Charity have worked together to break new ground and bring about life-saving changes to people. The highlights are many and include landmarks like opening the Cancer Centre at Guy’s – a state-of-the-art space which has brought together 13 different locations across eight different buildings to treat, diagnose and prevent more cancers. Together, we made possible the UK's first live kidney transplant at Guy's Hospital thanks to the revolutionary Da Vinci robot, funded with charitable money. Generous donations also helped build an outstanding new home for Evelina London and set up the Rare Diseases Centre, the first of its kind in the UK.
Over the past 70 years, Trust and Charity have worked together to break new ground and bring about life-saving changes to people.
But I love the smaller ways donations support the work of the Trust too. For example, how earlier this year, the Charity supported a member of staff to present at a conference, alongside (in their own words) “the rock stars of medical physics” and returned inspired with ideas for her department. And how people’s donations to Evelina London were able to support a party for children who have had a tracheostomy, and a craft group for parents spending days or weeks in the hospital. We know that these small things can make a huge difference to people.
None of these extraordinary differences would be possible without our generous donors. Many people support a charity like us because they care deeply about the staff and services who helped them. Or they care about the people being treated by the health system now or in the future. We are a vehicle to help turn people’s desire to make a difference into a positive impact – and it is truly humbling to be part of it.
Few today would disagree that the structures that keep us well and bring us back to health have more and more asked of them. This excellent analysis for the BBC by researchers from The Health Foundation, Institute of Fiscal Studies, The King’s Fund, and Nuffield Trust helps to explain what that takes.
We are proud of the work we have done with the Trust over the last 70 years, but the thing that gets us excited is what comes next. The extraordinary position we have, as one of the largest hospital charities supporting one of the best NHS trusts in the UK, allows us to be the ones breaking moulds and leading the way.
To help realise that potential, we are investing in our ability to work with our supporters and our colleagues across the Trust to deliver even greater impact for staff and patients.
The extraordinary position we have, as one of the largest hospital charities supporting one of the best NHS trusts in the UK, allows us to be the ones breaking moulds and leading the way.
We are committed to inspiring many more people to support the life-changing work at our hospitals and community sites. We are also encouraging more staff – from clinical leads to nurses, porters and everyone with power to impact on patients’ experiences – to think of the many changes they can make, every day, and get charitable support for them.
There are lots of ways you can support us to do more, from raising funds or donating to help make the work of our hospitals even better, to applying for funding if you are a staff member with a bright idea to make things better for your patients and colleagues.
Whatever part you chose to play, we hope you can join us in fulfilling our big ambition. I, for one, think our patients and our NHS truly deserve it.
07 November, 2016
As I type this, I realise this month sees not one but three awareness campaigns for types of cancer – lung, mouth and pancreatic.
26 October, 2015
Evelina London is ten. A proud decade of delivering life-changing care for children, young people and their families, a success that is down to people: our extraordinary staff, the children and families, our donors and those who support us.