NHS England Chief Executive visits Charing Cross Hospital to mark NHS birthday

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, paid a special visit to Charing Cross Hospital on Tuesday 5 July to mark the 74th anniversary of the NHS.

Ms Pritchard met hospital staff at the Marjory Warren acute medical unit and visited the new staff ‘rest nest’ break area, before stopping at the renal dialysis unit to see patients take part in one of our regular arts engagement activities.

The visit ended with a NHS Big Tea party in the hospital’s brand new staff lounge, funded by Imperial Health Charity as part of a major programme of improvements to staff facilities.

Speaking to staff and patients during the visit, Ms Pritchard said: “The pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges the NHS has faced and staff have really appreciated the unstinting support of our amazing volunteers and of course the public.

“Knowing that their dedication, skills and compassion are recognised and valued has helped keep nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists, porters, cleaners and all our other brilliant staff going through these dark days.

“The NHS Big Tea is our chance to say a big, heartfelt thank you to the incredible NHS charities all over the UK who play an important role in supporting staff and patients alike.”

Generous donations to Imperial Health Charity at the peak of the pandemic enabled a £1.2m programme of long-term improvements to facilities for NHS staff at the Trust, including upgrades to dozens of breakrooms, changing areas, kitchens and showers.

With support from NHS Charities Together, Imperial Health Charity also funded the expansion of the Trust’s staff counselling service – enabling over 1,300 staff to access one-to-one support and a further 4,500 to join emotional wellbeing groups.

Charlotte Jaye, Interim Deputy Divisional Director of Nursing at Imperial College Healthcare, was among the staff who met Ms Pritchard during the visit.

Charlotte said: “The improvements to staff facilities funded by Imperial Health Charity have transformed our breakrooms. At Charing Cross our acute medical unit was crying out for an overhaul. Now it’s a light, airy, calm and welcoming space for all the staff on the ward to enjoy.

“Over the last two years the work has felt relentless at times and keeping morale high has been a real challenge, but having this wonderful space in which to relax and unwind has helped to ensure the whole team feels valued and recognised for their efforts.”

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Pritchard to Charing Cross Hospital to celebrate this special occasion with a NHS Big Tea party.

“Working in partnership with the Trust, we are proud to continue providing extra support to staff and patients – through the pandemic and beyond – helping  our hospitals go above and beyond.”

The NHS Big Tea is a national fundraising campaign for NHS charities, inviting everyone to support our health service by coming together to host a tea party with family and friends on the NHS birthday. Led by NHS Charities Together, thousands took part across the nations this year, raising vital funds in support of the UK’s 238 NHS charities.