Philanthropy has been at the core of the hospital since its inception in 1918. Indeed, the purchase of the original Papworth Hall estate was made possible with a generous donation of £5,000. With this money, Papworth Hall was transformed into the first hospital building. Without this donation, it is possible that Papworth Hospital may not exist today.

Charitable funds have enabled the hospital to provide care beyond that of NHS funding alone, thus enhancing the hospitals status as a leading provider of cardiothoracic care.

As a charity, our purpose is to enhance patient experience which in turn reflects the ethos of Papworth Hospital and its staff, who work tirelessly to give patients the best quality of care. To ensure this standard of care continues to be offered the charity looks to not only support current services and care for patients but also proactively look to the future and support innovations that will help to tackle the growing prevalence of cardiothoracic diseases and conditions, thus in turn helping the local and in some cases national healthcare economy.

Innovation goes hand in hand with education and as such it is also essential to continue educating future generations of cardiothoracic experts to move innovation forward so fundraising efforts will go towards vital research and education.

Critical Care

With thanks to the generosity of donors and fundraisers, the team from the Critical Care Unit have been able to enhance the service they provide through making some key purchases for the unit.

The unit has been able to enhance patient care by incorporating new technology into the unit. Nikki Catling, Senior Physiotherapist explained that following a trial period, charitable funds were used towards purchase of a Cough Assist Machine trolley – this equipment is used to aid the recovery of patients suffering from respiratory problems following surgery and can prevent patients needing to have a breathing tube inserted.

The Senior Sister, Sue Crocker explained that purchases from charitable funds are not only used to make mandatory purchases, but provide an opportunity to enhance patient comfort beyond that of NHS funding alone: “The unit gets very hot and due to infection control, we can’t have generic fans as the blades are difficult to keep clean. Instead we have used charitable funds to purchase fans which meet infection control requirements and help to make patients more comfortable. These are always very well received by patients and we try to buy more when we can.”

Julie Bracken, Critical Care Manager said: “We are extremely grateful to anyone that donates to the Critical Care Unit and always listen to what the donor would like us to use the money for – sometimes this is towards a specific piece of medical equipment, sometimes things to add extra comfort for patients and relatives, and sometimes specifically towards staff well-being. With over 2,700 admissions to the Unit a year, it really does make a difference to a huge number of patients and families. Thank you.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Unit

An example of a previous success story at Papworth Hospital is a study into why a dangerous type of bacterial infection has become more common among people with Cystic Fibrosis around the world. The results of the study meant the CF department at Papworth Hospital was able to change the way it cared for its patients and improve their quality of life – the actions taken at Papworth Hospital were replicated by CF units in other hospitals benefitting patients nationwide.

3D Echocardiography Service

The generosity and success born out of our partnership with Chariots of Fire, one of Cambridgeshire’s largest annual fundraising events, has enabled Papworth to make a profound difference to treatment and diagnosis of cardiac patients with the introduction of the 3D echocardiography machine.

The 3D echocardiography service has enabled clinicians to visualise the heart structure and function in real time in 3 dimensions without having to make 2 dimensional geometrical assumptions. Dr Rosemary Rusk, Consultant Cardiologist explained that since it’s inception, the 3D echocardiography service is now part of the routine clinical day to day practice. The hospital can now provide additional data and information on the patients to aid in their clinical management.

Further to this, Papworth has also been able to train other centres in the region and has shared our experiences at national conferences. As such, the charitable funds have had an effect across the NHS, as well as the 20,000 patients who directly benefitted from the service at Papworth Hospital.