Posted on: April 21, 2020

Thank you to our health heroes!


The NHS is our country’s most valued treasure, and now, more than ever, we are grateful to the healthcare professionals that are working tirelessly to battle the Covid-19 virus. It has been heartwarming to see the nation rallying behind the NHS, supporting the Clap for Carers campaign. This has been so successful that it is now a weekly occurrence with households clapping for the NHS and essential key workers every Thursday at 8pm.

We also want to thank you all for your outpouring of support for
St Mark’s at this difficult time.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it significant challenges for the NHS. We acknowledge, however, that the challenges for patients with complex bowel diseases have not gone away, and our staff are working hard to provide ongoing care and support to patients. Initiatives include the transition of Inflammatory Bowel Disease clinics to a virtual platform, including consultations taking place over the telephone where appropriate. Additionally our stoma nurses have been working in the community, offering specialist services to patients in need.

We do not want to forget that April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on a disease that is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Since 1835, St Mark’s has been dedicated to researching and developing innovative treatments for complex bowel diseases, including bowel cancer, making significant contributions to the field.

During this difficult time, messages of hope will sustain us, and we invite our patients who have been affected by bowel cancer to contact us and share their experiences which can be shared on our social media platforms. If you would like to share your story, please contact the team on

It cannot be ignored that there is unprecedented pressure on NHS hospitals across the country. Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals were the first hospital’s to be impacted by Covid-19 in the UK. Our clinical colleagues have been heroic in responding to the challenges, from re-organising wards to showing extraordinary commitment to clinical care. It is for these reasons that the Foundation has focused some of its efforts on supporting our clinical colleagues, who have migrated to working in ICU and the frontline treating patients with Covid-19. Supporting our clinical colleagues is of vital importance as the situation requires the country’s healthcare professionals to pool their resources and expertise to battle the most significant challenge our healthcare system and country has faced since WWII.

Many of St Mark’s research fellows, registrars, surgeons, physicians, specialist nurses and others are now working full time on wards, High Dependency Units, Intensive Care Units and A&E. They continue to be selfless in their dedication to help others during this time.

Staff from St Mark’s and Northwick Park have been receiving refresher training to assist them with the transition to working on wards, intensive care and other departments as they face one of the greatest challenges of their career. 

Thank you to our incredible health heroes!

In response to the pandemic we have moved quickly to set up a dedicated campaign, specifically raising funds which will help support our clinical staff and patients in the fight against the virus.

One of the most pressing issues reported is the procurement of PPE for NHS staff, and although sufficient PPE is available across the country, the logistical challenge for the NHS is being able to get resources to the right place at the right time.

Hence, we are principally fundraising towards the purchase of equipment, including face visors, disposable scrubs, and enabling a consistent supply of this vital equipment.

Staying connected is so importance at the moment and the funds raised have enabled the Foundation to purchase iPads so patients can contact their families and loved ones while visits to the hospital are not possible. Immense thanks is owed to our Research Fellows Anu and Ollie who have worked on this initiative, to thank the St Mark’s and Northwick Park ward nursing staff and the IT department as their support has been vital.
We have dedicated funds from this campaign to provide food and toiletry parcels to long-term patients receiving treatment in the Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit. Many of these patients are unable to eat large quantities of food due to their bowel disease and are encouraged to consume calorie rich foods including cakes, crips and biscuits. Under normal circumstances, these goods are provided by family and friends, however due to the current situation this is not possible. Working with Dr Suzanne Donnelly and Dr Simon Gabe we have provided the much needed, and much appreciated parcels to patients.
We are proud to be the only charity in the UK dedicated to funding research, innovation and education at St Mark’s, and we feel humbled that, at this time, we can provide much-needed support to our medical colleagues and patients through our Covid-19 appeal.
On behalf of St Mark’s Hospital Foundation, thank you to our St Mark’s colleagues, and our colleagues across the NHS. #Healthcareheroes

Donate to our covid-19 appeal

We also want to shine a spotlight on support work that is being undertaken, and to thank St Mark’s Research Fellow Dr Anisha Sukha and her team of Imperial College Medical students, who have been tirelessly cleaning and sterilising goggles and eye shields. This work is of vital importance, as it is helping ensure the continued safety of our clinical staff while they are working. 
We are truly humbled by the incredible support that we have received from our Trustees, clinical staff and their families, the local community, including schools, and companies connected with our supporters’ networks. They have donated their time, money and resources to help St Mark’s during this time.
40tude, a longstanding supporter of St Mark’s, for example, asked its network for support and secured donations of 1,000 protective goggles from local secondary schools in London and nutritional snacks and meals for staff to sustain them while they work long shifts. 40tude is also offering practical support in the form of a professional counselling service for St Mark’s staff, which will ensure that their mental wellbeing is equally prioritised as they continue to face the challenges presented by Covid-19. Pictured is Gordon Moore the founder of 40tude, delivering supplies including the counselling service contact cards.
With everything considered, it is more important than ever to look after your physical and mental health. Keep fit by doing some simple exercises at home or in the garden, or walking once a day in accordance with government guidelines, as a great way to keep your physical wellbeing in check. If you need some advice on how to calm anxieties during this period and need some advice on adjusting to social isolation, mental health charity MIND has posted some great advice, which is available on their website. Keep in contact with your family, friends, and neighbours via social media platforms, video calls, text and telephone calls. Reach out to those who are most vulnerable, be kind, and look out for one another.

Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.