Two local charities have joined forces to raise £650,000 to create a new home for heart research on Teesside.
Hearts + Minds is a joint appeal by Our Hospitals Charity and South Cleveland Heart Fund which launches today (Tuesday 29 March) to bring first class cardiovascular research facilities to Teesside.
The charities are working together to help create a Cardiothoracic Research Facility at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
James Cook Hospital has been at the heart of cardiovascular care in Teesside for more than 25 years. Now we want to take this expertise and use it to inspire new research and breakthroughs in cardiac treatment and care.”Dr David Austin, consultant cardiologist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The money raised will enable existing space to be transformed into a leading edge facility and will include the creation of a dedicated clinical setting for patients in research trials as well as a reception, patient waiting area, new office space and a meeting room.
Focal point for heart research
The Cardiothoracic Research Facility would be a focal point for heart research and could help countless people around the world.
The facility will be used by the trust’s Academic Cardiovascular Unit, which will focus on research that improves treatment of heart attacks, develops exercise programmes in patients with heart problems, improves cardiac surgery and makes better use of data and digital technology in research.
It will enable the trust to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in heart research as well as leading the way across the north east region.
Enoch Akowuah, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has just been appointed a professor at Newcastle University, who, along with York University, are supporting the unit.
One of the things we learned from COVID is that research has an immediate impact on patient care. Hospitals that do research also have the best outcomes."Enoch Akowuah, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Enoch said: “The Cardiothoracic Research Facility will provide opportunity for us to design and develop really impactful research trials, which will make a massive difference to patient care.”
Hugely exciting time
Rebecca Maier, head of the Academic Cardiovascular Unit said: “This is a hugely exciting time for cardiovascular research in Teesside, and the new Research Facility will enable us to do so much more, with findings from the research we do benefitting patients in the area and beyond.
“Bringing researchers and patients together in this way will allow patients to directly influence the work we do and ensure that our research ideas are always focussed on patient needs.”
Working in partnership
Ben Murphy, head of Our Hospitals Charity at James Cook University Hospital said: “This is a huge amount of money that we need so I’m delighted that we’re working with South Cleveland Heart Fund. The work they have done for so many years to support the heart unit at James Cook has benefited countless numbers of people.
“And now, we need to take it to the next level. But we can’t do it alone. We need the public to really get behind this appeal and together we can fund new cardiovascular research on Teesside.”
‘A real feather in the cap’
Dr Adrian Davies, chairman of South Cleveland Heart Fund, said: “We have waited so long for this – a real feather in the cap for our Heart Unit, which will enhance patient care on a local and Global basis, and attract top class people to our Unit in Middlesbrough. Let’s get this Appeal completed as soon as possible”.
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