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From front-line staff

Here you will find a selection of statements that we have received from front-line staff at The James Cook University Hospital who have directly benefited from the South Cleveland Heart Fund and your kind donations.

Dr Mark de Belder

Testimonial From: Dr Mark de Belder

Company/Organisation: Clinical Lead for Research and Development, Cardiothoracic Division

"The South Cleveland Heart Fund has been instrumental in supporting the research efforts and some key developments in the Cardiothoracic Division at The James Cook University Hospital. For example, it has allowed us to introduce novel treatments, such as drug-eluting stents, which make it much less likely that patients have to return for additional treatments later.

Most recently, it has allowed us to introduce renal denervation therapy for patients with very severe high blood pressure, which leads to heart attacks and strokes that cannot be controlled by standard medications.

It has sponsored a number of our research staff and provided us with some important and expensive pieces of equipment that we could not acquire from normal funding streams. We are really grateful to the team that does all the hard work to raise the funds, selflessly giving up their time to do this. We are of course equally grateful to all those who dig deep to make donations to the Fund and also to all the patients who participate in the studies we are involved in."


Jane Graham

Testimonial From: Jane Graham

Company/Organisation: Echocardiography Services Coordinator

"A big thank you to South Cleveland heart fund for being very supportive of the Echo Service over many years. Amongst a great deal of diagnostic equipment SCHF has recently provided a high spec Echo machine for Cardiac Out patients and 2 hand held portable scanners. All of these are used regularly to diagnose and treat important and life threatening heart conditions. This is an invaluable contribution to the services here and we are very grateful"


Tracy Wood

Testimonial From: Tracy Wood

Company/Organisation: South Tees NHS Trust

The South Cleveland Heart Fund has purchased Sara Steadies for the Cardiothoracic Unit at The James Cook University Hospital, a Sara Steady is a mobility-promoting support tool that encourages more mobile patients to stand up independently.


  • Find them easy to use and manage patients one to one instead of using a second staff member


  • Patients feel safe
  • Easy to get on to transfer from bed to the Sara Steady
  • They enable the patient to get to the bathroom for washes etc giving them a bit of independence

We have had BP machines which were bought by The South Cleveland Heart Fund as our others were old and breaking down. We have had parker knoll chairs bought by The South Cleveland Heart Fund which the Heart Failure patients use, they find them comfortable and some of the patients sleep in them as they get more rest than being in bed.


Dr Andrew Thornley

Testimonial From: Dr Andrew Thornley

Company/Organisation: Consultant Cardiac Interventionist

"I was very grateful to receive funding from the South Cleveland Heart Fund for research in to the basic science behind heart failure. This funding was vital to get the project off the ground. Help from the South Cleveland Heart Fund has allowed the Cardiology unit at James Cook to carry out cutting edge research."


Mr Joel Dunning

Testimonial From: Mr Joel Dunning

Company/Organisation: Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon

"We were delighted to receive our new video mediastinoscope this year provided by the South Cleveland Heart Fund of £12,000. Prior to surgery to try to cure lung cancer it is vital to know whether the cancer has already spread beyond the areas which can be removed surgically.

A mediastinoscopy is a small operation behind the breast bone that samples the lymph nodes that are the first place where the lung cancer will spread beyond the margins that are operable. Prior to obtaining the videomediastinoscope we had a very old one that was not an endoscope and you basically had to look down a tube to get the lymph nodes. The view was very poor and we often just did not do this operation. Since obtaining the videomediastinoscope we have tripled the number of mediastinoscopies that we do and we have much greater confidence that the operations the patients go on to have are going to cure the patients and that the cancer will not recur."


Mrs Jackie Tough

Testimonial From: Mrs Jackie Tough

Company/Organisation: Nurse Consultant, CCU

"We were all very happy to receive the Exercise Test Treadmill courtest of the South Cleveland Heart Fund, it is an essential piece of medical equipment used as a screening tool to assess the effect of exercise on the heart and is particularly useful in patients with heart disease to determine the severity of heart disease. The equipment purchased by the SCHF fund has helped in the assessment of many patients both those admitted urgently to hospital with chest pain and out patients undergoing investigations for heart disease."


Mr Enoch Akowuah

Testimonial From: Mr Enoch Akowuah

Company/Organisation: Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon

"The South Cleveland Heart (SCHF) fund has played an instrumental role in starting our sutureless valve programme at James Cook University Hospital. These new valves allow us to do an aortic valve replacement much quicker and the time the heart needs to be stopped for the new valve to be inserted is significantly reduced. This reduction in time helps patients to get over the operation quicker. SCHF provided funding for us to start the programme and learn the techniques involved. Subsequently, funding has been identified within the NHS to keep this programme running and to make it sustainable for the future. This would have been impossible without the work of the SCHF."

"In additional the SCHF has also been instrumental during the application process for a research grant from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in regards to the area of Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement (Mini-AVR). The department at James Cook, with Mr Enoch Akowuah as chief investigator, has recently been awarded £250,000 to carry out a trial comparing keyhole aortic valve surgery with conventional surgery through a sternotomy. Members of the SCHF helped Mr Akowuah to identify key questions and concerns from patients and other users of the health service that needed to be answered during the trial. Those opinions and ideas were then incorporated into the study application. The grant was awarded in August 2013 and the trial will start in January 2014."


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The South Cleveland Heart Fund (SCHF) is a registered charity: England and Wales number. 1051565