Heart-lung patient meets transplant surgeon who saved her life 30 years ago
A woman from York, who had a heart and lung transplant operation at Papworth Hospital, has celebrated the 30th anniversary of her surgery by being reunited with the doctor who transformed her life.
Carol Town, 63, who was born in Upminster in Essex (now east London) in 1954, was five years old when she was diagnosed with a rare condition that leads to irreversible lung damage.
At the time she was diagnosed, most patients with the condition died before they reached 30.
Once referred to Papworth Hospital, she waited for 18 months for organs to become available.
Mrs Town was on the way home from work when she got a message from the hospital to say suitable organs had been identified for her transplant in July 1987.
At the time of the operation she thought it would only give her four extra years of life, which she says "felt like a long time".
Her surgery was a success and she was discharged in time for her fourth wedding anniversary in August 1987.
She says the treatment gave her a new lease of life and she quickly learned to run, swim, cycle and ride horses for the first time.
After recovering for the surgery Ms Town eventually climbed her first peak, Pen-y-Ghent in the Yorkshire Dales, then took part in the Transplant Games.
Mrs Town met the surgeon who gave her the live-saving operation, Professor John Wallwork, who is now chairman of Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, at a special ceremony at Pembroke College in Cambridge.
She said: "The transplant gave me so much.
"It completely transformed my
life and allowed me to do things I never thought possible, like see my son grow
up and have a rewarding career.
"I'll probably never know who it was who donated their heart and lungs to me, but I am so grateful to them for giving me a second chance at life."
As we’ve been reporting today, many GP surgeries in Beds, Herts and Bucks are struggling to recruit and retain staff.
The NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCG) for Luton and Bedfordshire say a plan is in place to solve the problem.
A spokesman for both CCGs said: "We are in the process of developing a number of innovative schemes across Luton and Bedfordshire to address these issues.
"We are working in partnership with our GPs to further identify the factors underlying our recruitment issues, including holding a survey with newly-qualified GPs to understand ambitions.
"Working together, we will be producing an appropriate action plan to improve recruitment and retention across the areas.
"Other initiatives to help relieve the pressures on GPs' time, to enable them to focus on their specialist skills, involve introducing new roles such as clinical pharmacists and up-skilling nurses and practice staff and encouraging GPs to return to practice or retaining them on a part-time basis.”
GP surgeries struggling to recruit enough staff
A shortage of doctors in surgeries across Beds, Herts and Bucks needs to be addressed urgently, according to GPs.
Some are struggling to recruit as they say newly-qualified doctors are opting to become locums who work temporarily in a number of practices rather than committing to one.
Dr Jason Reddy, a GP at the Sharnbrook Surgery near Bedford, said: "We have a vacancy in our small rural practice and we’ve advertised nationally but had no response at all.
"It’s because of financial uncertainty within the NHS, job security and because pay for locums is better at the moment so young doctors think their future is uncertain if they go into a permanent job."
Dr Dipak Shah runs Pastures Way surgery in the Lewsey area of Luton and said some practices find it harder than others to recruit.
"People would like to go to the more affluent areas when applying for jobs and historically it’s never been easy to recruit a doctor or nurse or retain staff - it’s always been a challenge."
Future of hospitals review under wraps
Political reporter, BBC Shropshire
The public could get to have their say on hospital reorganisation in the county as early as September.
It followed an angry backlash over plans to downgrade the A&E at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital and move its Women and Children's unit over to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to sit alongside a new enhanced emergency centre.
It's understood that specialist consultant firm KPMG, which has carried out this review, has flagged up three areas of concern around the process. It includes whether the money to make changes is in place.
The report has been written and it's in circulation, but it's under tight wraps. KPMG did not want this information coming out prior to the forthcoming Future Fit board meeting on Monday.
Next month, the joint committee will meet to decide whether a public consultation can go ahead - possibly from September.