The Charity of the Yorkshire Heart Centre
click on any photograph to enlarge
For more than a year, Take Heart trustees and the staff of the Cath Labs and Ward 14 together with Andy Tunstall from the Trust Estates Department, have been working on our biggest project ever – the provision of a new Cardiac Lounge for the patients of the Catheter Labs here in the Yorkshire Heart Centre. After all the planning, building work and movement of existing facilities including the staff room, the lounge is finally open after an expenditure of Half a Million pounds. This money has been made available through the ongoing donations of our wonderful members and friends and in particular, a large legacy by the late James Applegate Sandham. The Cath Labs are one of the busiest departments in the Heart Centre, dealing with many hundreds of patients every year. This is the first port of call for patients who have had heart attacks and is also the Hi-Tech department for Pacemakers, TAVI, Stents, etc. The new lounge will make a vast difference to the experience of ‘walking’ patients. Bright surroundings with comfortable furniture, individual lockers, TV, Wi-Fi and ‘help yourself’ tea and coffee. The opening ceremony was performed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Leeds Hospital Trust, Julian Hartley and he also dedicated a plaque in appreciation of the work of Colin Pullan who had to stand down after 28 years as Chairman due to ill health. Although he was unable to attend on the evening, he is still a trustee of course and has the title *Chairman Emeritus of the charity. Bill Stevenson - Trustee - Editor *Google definition of Chairman Emeritus: Pronounced: eh – merit – us Meaning: Founder of the organisation, former chairman, still active within the organisation but without special responsibilities. Julian thanked Jim for his contribution and continued by saying that he must say something more about Take Heart. “You are magnificent and what you do for us is incredibly important and valuable. It has been operational since 1989 has raised over four million pounds and has always been run on a completely voluntary basis. This is an incredible commitment and making a real difference. For example, you provided modern furniture, equipment for the Yorkshire Heart Centre, all tv, internet and phone calls porovided for free by the charity, provide free accommodation for patients relatives and improve the environment for staff. Now the Roof Garden is my favourite place to go in hot weather. It’s a really popular place to go for patients relatives and staff for a breath of fresh air. “I want to thank all your supporters who funded this fantastic new facility. Our thanks also go to our corporate planning team who helped design and deliver this project and I notice Andy Tunstall (Estates Dept) - you’ve done a bit of snagging (laughter) and as always the team brings these things to fruition in a pretty short time scale and looking really good. And of course, I want to put on record our huge thanks to Colin Pullan whose enormous contribution to Take Heart over the last 28 years. I know Bill is recording this so Colin will be able to hear what has gone on tonight. I’ve a few more things to say about Colin but at this point, we need to pull the string on the plaque to officially declare the suite open. “At this point, it is a real privilege to declare the Take Heart Cardiac Suite officially open” * * left-right: Gina McGawley, Chairman Take Heart, Alec McLean, Treasurer, Julian Hartley CEO Leeds Hospitals Trust, Bill Stevenson, Trustee IT Manager Take Heart. COLIN PULLAN, MBE Chairman Emeritus Take Heart Julian then introduced Alec who made a short speech, passing on Colin’s sincere regrets that he could not attend the function because of health issues. He talked fondly of working with Colin over27 years, praising his achievements, and reminisced that Colin asked him at that time to stand in as treasurer temporarily until he found someone else. +
The CEO of Leeds Hospital Trust, Julian Hartley, performed the opening ceremony. He praised the Take Heart Charity and was extremely sorry that Colin Pullan, the Chairman Emeritus of Take Heart, who was to have performed the opening jointly with him, could not attend due to ill health and he wished him well. The Take Heart Cardiac Suite had been running for a week and already the benefits are felt. The new service currently has acute overnight accommodation in Ward 14 courtesy of the Take Heart Suite. Already, the suite has enabled fewer cancellations. There is a large waiting area with TV, comfortable chairs, office, separate toilets, privacy room to protect patient confidentiality, private lockers, tea and coffee on demand and much more. Patients are treated in their own clothes or dignity suits if required. Cardiac Consultant Jim McLennachan joined in to say “One of our shortages is beds. We have been making cancellations due to what happened in 14. We needed a facility to bring patients in for day case procedures and get them to the lab. Clearly we are incredibly grateful to Take Heart. Historically this has been pushed for by the doctors. It is a huge tribute to nursing staff, physiology staff, radiography and all others who said we needed to improve.”
Alec then said that although Take Heart received much praise for the work they do, a lot of that praise should be directed at the brilliant work which the staff of the hospital do. We often bask in the staff’s reflected glory. He then showed off the present which the trustees had bought for Colin, a beautiful engraved crystal whisky decanter. Alec said - “it now needs filling!” Fortunately the ward sisters came to the rescue with their gift for Colin - a bottle of extremely good whisky, so problem solved! Julian then paid his tribute to Colin saying “Colin was an ambulance driver and one of the original founders of the then, Take Heart Club 29 years ago in Killingbeck Hospital. He was one of a small group who had received heart surgery and wanted to give sometning back for the excellent care they received. He was made the first Chairman and continued in that role until 2017 when ill health forced him to stand down. He passed over these duties to Gina McGawley. For all these years, Colin was an almost daily visitor to the hospital and the charity started to grow uinder his leadership. One of the first items bought were two exercise bikes for the gym and since then, the charity have raised over four million pounds. Since none of the staff are paid, every penny goes towards making life a little more comfortable for patients, their relatives and staff. Briefly, the charity supply free TV, phone calls and internet to all heart patient’s beds, a Roof Garden, 6 free of charge en-suite bedrooms for out of town relatives, ward furniture, decor a multitude of information booklets for patients, medical equipment and among many other things, their famous Fish Tanks!” The Queen presented Colin with an MBE in 2002 for his services to the Heart Centre. His Chairmanship culminated with the biggest project the charity have embarked on - this Cardiac Suite at a cost of half a million pounds. So what we’ve done is a very nice touch - we’ve got a plaque here which says ‘The trustees and members of Take Heart wish to extend their heartfelt thanks to Colin who was one of the founders of the charity and was the chairman for 27 years. His untiring work helped make the charity so successful, raising in the region of £4m. to date.’ “So this will take pride of place and I think it’s a nice dedication and a really good reminder of his contribution to the hospital. I’m sure that friends and colleagues will pass on their own congratulations when Colin is well enough to pay us a visit. So thank you all for coming here tonight. There’s a nice buffet available so please talk amongst yourselves about future ideas. I know Take Heart are already planning other projects, but you have really excelled yourselves with this one. Thank you very much.” EXTRA The event was an opportune moment to present a member of staff of the hospital, Jayne Gabbitas with a Certificate from Julian Hartley in recognition of 40 years service to the hospital. Congratulations Jayne. Story and pics - Bill Stevenson FOR MORE PICS OF THE NIGHT - CLICK HERE >