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That's it for our day at Addenbrooke's

So, we've come to the end of our 12 hours of live coverage from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

We've spent the day meeting patients and staff, hearing how they coped during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and about their hopes for the future.

Thanks for joining us and for sharing your stories.

Ronald Jaffray

It seems only right we give the last word to one man who's been at the hospital non-stop, throughout the past three-and-a-half challenging months.

Ronald Jaffray, 77, arrived in May with a collapsed lung and is still recovering from complications.

He said: "I don't know when I'm going to go home. I can't fault the nursing staff but I miss my little dog. She's a 10-year-old Yorkshire terrier and is living with a friend at the moment. She's my life."

Cambridge Covid testing 'a fantastic effort'

We've heard a lot today about how Addenbrooke's has coped with huge demand for Covid-19 tests, both for patients and staff, throughout the pandemic.

A senior boss at Cambridge University Hospitals has hailed the way its staff have worked with the Public Health Laboratory (PHE) and the University of Cambridge to make that happen.

Brian Warner

Operations manager Brian Warner said a 24/7 rapid Covid test facility was set up "within days" for patients arriving in A&E.

He said: "The PHE laboratory in Cambridge increased its testing capacity and vastly reduced its turnaround time to support all the patients within the trust.

"Plus the University of Cambridge, set up a laboratory to manage the testing and repeat testing of all staff on the CUH site.

"A fantastic effort, by many dedicated organisations and the staff within them."

Children's hospital plans 'really exciting'

It's been a busy day for Dr Kanwalraj Moar, who we spoke to earlier.

She's the director of women's and children's service and is in charge of the Rosie Maternity Hospital but was back in the operating theatre today.

In between surgery on babies with cleft lips, she's been in meetings about the new children's hospital planned for the site.

She said: "It's something really exciting. It'll allow us to put all the care that's spread out, into one place.

"It's a zone designed for children, it's meant for children and is only for them.

"We're the only region in the country that doesn't have that, and we should."

Dr Kanwalraj Moar

A birthing room with a view

Phil Shepka

BBC News

I’ve come back to the adjoining Rosie Maternity Hospital. Specifically, birthing room number six.

It's full of all the equipment you could need during birth, including a bed, a water bath and a Bluetooth speaker set masquerading as a lava lamp.

Birthing room.

Expectant mums often have the option of choosing a room leading out to the garden, like this view from birthing room three.

View from birthing room window.

The hairdresser fixing lockdown cuts

Heidi Natijanic

You might not expect a hospital to have a senior stylist, but there's been a hair salon in Addenbrooke's for more than 30 years.

Like the rest of the staff, Heidi Natijanic is having to get used to doing her job dressed in personal protective equipment.

Since it reopened after lockdown on 4 July, Heidi's had a lot of haircut repair work to do.

"We've had a lot of people come in who've tried to dye or cut their hair themselves. Some of the men look like Dr Einstein, it's been quite funny," she said.

"We have lots of regular clients from the wards and it's been a great experience to come back and see them all again."

Hospital boss 'shocked' at positive Covid-19 test

About 7,000 Addenbrooke's staff have been tested for Covid-19 antibodies, which can show whether a person has had the virus.

About 8% of those tested positive, including the hospital's director of corporate affairs.

Ian Walker said: "I've been working throughout the period and had no suggestion of even the mildest of Covid symptoms, so it was a real surprise and a shock."

Ian Walker

Ian added he had been wearing masks, keeping his distance from others and holding meetings via video calls during that time.

He's now taking part in a study looking at whether antibodies offer protection from getting the virus again.

Clare walks the wards for staff testing

Healthcare assistant Clare Munday is a familiar face on the wards.

Since April, she's put in the steps delivering and collecting test swabs for staff - then preparing them for processing in the labs.


She delivers about 150 a day, and today has visited six different areas of the hospital.

Staff should get their results in a couple of days.

'We've had no Covid-19 in staff since the beginning of June'


Michael Weekes is an infectious diseases consultant here at Addenbrooke's Hospital and has a laboratory at Cambridge University.

There are two streams of staff coming to the pods for testing: those with symptoms, about 30 to 50 a day, and general tests of staff without symptoms, around 250 a day.

And he has good news.

"We have had no positive Covid-19 test results here since the beginning of June," he said.

"However, we need to keep testing to see if it comes back. It's an early warning system for us."

'You need to see people's expressions'

Tim Machin is waiting for an X-ray after experiencing chest pain during his treatment for leukaemia.


"Outpatients is like a second home, part of my actual normal - as opposed to the new normal," he said.

"Wearing masks doesn't seem to be an issue but it is difficult to see full expressions on faces.

"I'd like GPs and hospitals to adopt video conferencing all the time so patients can see their professionals face-to-face, albeit not in the same room."

Your stories: 'Shout out to the ambulance cleaners'

Addenbrooke's entrance.

Kate got in touch to tell us about the treatment her son received at the hospital when he had a brain tumour removed in February.

She said: "We have been back since for MRI scans and eye appointments and each time Addenbrooke's has been amazing.

"It’s like a different place with the amount of people but the quality remains unchanged."

Meanwhile, Toby wanted to say: "Shout out to the ambulance cleaners at Addenbrooke's keeping the rate of infections down."

'We were beside ourselves'

Phil Shepka

BBC News

"Stopping services was easy, restarting them has been the difficult part," James Brennan, in imaging tells me.

James is head of radiology.


"When we had to cancel non-essential and routine imaging, tens of thousands of appointments were put on hold," he said.

"We were beside ourselves."

Your stories: 'I haven’t had a night’s sleep in months'

Martine Smith has contacted us to say she has been on the waiting list for orthopaedic surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital since the autum.

It follows complications after she broke her femur almost five years ago.

Her operation was set for May but had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the meantime, I continue to take huge amounts of painkillers... and my walking is now almost non-existent," she says.

"I haven’t had a night’s sleep in months because of the pain and still the surgery looks no closer. The impact on my day to day life is huge.

"I don’t blame the orthopaedic department - the skill and care is absolutely first class but surely Covid cases can be isolated in one part of hospital to enable to rest of the departments to operate as normal.

"This makes no sense to me."

Sue feeling 'very secure' during cancer treatment

Sue Ross

Sue Ross, 58, a medical secretary at Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely, is having her second chemotherapy session.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June and has felt "very secure and well looked-after" at the hospital but missed seeing her two daughters during lockdown.

She said: "It's hard going to an appointment on your own but my husband was allowed to take part in the consultation by speakerphone from a distance, which worked well."

Telemedicine: The new look hospital appointment

This is what "telemedicine" looks like.


Little Rowan Walter and his mum Sarah are catching up with the cleft team.

The three-year-old was born with a cleft lip and palate, and has been undergoing speech therapy from the age of 18 months.

"Face-to-face is better with something like speech, but this is the best the hospital can offer," Sarah told us.

"The support has been brilliant. I'm so grateful to Addenbrooke's and the cleft team for everything they've done."

'Incredible changes kept cancer treatments going'

Hospitals quickly adapted to cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients, but other life-saving treatments have had to continue too.

Addenbrooke's Hospital gets about 280 cancer referrals per month but the number of chemotherapy spaces was cut from 40 to 23 to space patients out during the pandemic.

Sarah Jefferies, clinical director for cancer, said they "kept the same capacity going" by extending treatment hours during the day and opening at weekends.

They also reacted quickly to a breast cancer study, which said some patients could be treated safely over a week, rather than three.

Sarah Jeffries.

She said: "Managing these departments through the pandemic has been my greatest challenge as a doctor.

"We've seen incredible changes and I have been massively impressed by all of my staff from receptionists to consultants."

'Members of procurement team are the unsung heroes'

Dr Liam Brennan is a consultant anaesthetist who also heads up the hospital's PPE procurement.


"This was something we were all unfamiliar with, the experience of managing patients during a pandemic, and making sure we had the right PPE in the right places," he said.

Masks, like their wearers, come in all shapes and sizes.

"Certain types have to be fitted to their specific staff member - we have to accommodate everyone," he said.

"And it's not just protective equipment - it's all the extra things, like ventilators.

"Covid hasn't gone away. But we're ready for it now - we're more resilient."

Nursing in a pandemic 'a rollercoaster of emotions'

It was a baptism of fire for nurse Sarah Thurston, who started her new job in outpatients as the covronavirus pandemic took hold.

She said: "We are quite a resilient lot anyway and we're used to adapting to change.

"But it's the first time in our careers when we've had to think about ourselves and our own safety, rather than just thinking about our patients."

Sarah Thurston

She previously worked as a surgery nurse and had to get used to a new role and a new team while dealing with changes brought in because of Covid-19.

"I felt safe, we had enough protective equipment and procedures in place to isolate covid patients. But it's been a rollercoaster of emotions," she said.

'There were days when 7,000 Easter eggs arrived'

Hospital staff take a well-earned break in their very own "sanctuary" room.

It's been full of gifts and messages during the coronavirus pandemic, from members of the public who wanted to show their appreciation.

David Wherrett

David Wherrett is in charge of staff wellbeing and said: "There were days when we had up to 7,000 easter eggs arrive or 500 pot plants.

"Our people appreciated the gestures from outside the hospital at the most challenging of times."


There's more than just hot drinks and biscuits on offer here. Staff are also encouraged to do a spot of origami to help them relax.

Easter eggs

Helping Covid-19 patients through therapy

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, whose job title is dance for health lead artist, is helping patient Dainius Denosevicius, who is in hospital after contracting Covid-19.

Dainius, from Soham, has been here for four months - and spent 58 days in a coma.

Here he is taking part in a Dance for Health session to help his breathing.

He says he is feeling OK but struggles to do anything requiring effort with the help of oxygen.


Artwork that keeps spirits up

Any visitor to the corridors of Addenbrooke's Hospital will recognise these giant artworks along the walls - and they're always worth a moment for a closer look.

Here's an amazing mosaic mural by multi-media artist Jim Anderson:


And this is a flavour of the stunning artwork by Quentin Blake, reflecting Britain's artistic, musical and poetic heritage:


Retraining staff for intensive care

File photo of intensive care
PA Media
File photo of an intensive care unit

During the peak the need for staff to help with those seriously ill with the disease became more apparent.

The endoscopy unit, which was only carrying out emergency procedures during that time, ended up sending some staff to help elsewhere.

Ewen Cameron said: “They received training so they could work as nurses in the expanded intensive care units.”

The team at Addenbrooke’s usually deal with 7,000 per year, and despite months where routine procedures were on hold they have “cleared the backlog very quickly”.

'A hospital without waiting rooms'

Phil Shepka

BBC News

Dr Adrian Boyle

“We're trying to run a hospital without waiting rooms because waiting rooms are terrible for social distancing and hospitals are built full of waiting rooms all over the place.”

Those are the words of Dr Adrian Boyle, consultant emergency physician in Addenbrooke’s Hospital's accident and emergency department.

He said: “Just organising an x-ray you've got to decide in advance whether the patient is what we call red or green (possible Covid-19 or not possible Covid-19), which x-ray area they go to, how do we make sure they aren't sitting next to somebody who might contaminate them.

“The whole process is so much more complicated.”

Your stories: What is your experience of Addenbrooke's Hospital?

New mum Emma emailed us, describing her care at Addenbrooke's as "phenomenal".

"I was admitted for two weeks when partners weren't allowed to visit and I was very emotional," she said.

"The midwives on Sara ward went above and beyond to make sure I was OK."

Addenbrooke's Hospital entrance.

Graham had a kidney and pancreas transplant at the hospital just before lockdown. He said: "My health has improved 100% and thank all the staff for their support through difficult times."

Meanwhile, Gillian gave birth to her son there 31 years ago and was discharged just before Look East interviewed a patient in the bed she vacated. She said: "I missed a chance to say something then about the care and support I received.

"I am taking the opportunity to say how wonderful they all were."

We'd love to hear your experiences of being treated at Addenbrooke's. You can email or use the Twitter hashtag #hospitallivebbc.

'We've been living and breathing it'

"The pandemic has been pretty full on," deputy matron, Nicola Cundell, said.

"We had the NHS 111 pods outside back in January, so we've been living and breathing it a fair few months now.

"It's been upsetting. It's been tough."

Nicola Cundell

"Normally patients have someone with them, a relative to sit with them and hold their hand, so we've had to be a little bit of everything.

"We've had to be their handholders, their advocates, their nurses. It has been all-consuming.

"We are exhausted."

'No-brainer' to help after cancer scare

Dita Lee

Dita Lee travels the 90-minute trip from Cromer in Norfolk to Cambridge four or five times a week to volunteer with St John Ambulance.

You might wonder why, but she said her previous battle with breast cancer has been a major motivation to give back.

"I was given six months to live and then miraculously here we are years later. I’m obviously here to tell the tale, that’s all in the past.

"When you go through a cycle like that at a fairly young age, I was 36 at the time, I just thought it’s a no-brainer, I have to go and help because I feel so strongly about how amazing the staff were with me."

Getting the Covid-19 test - as easy as 1,2,3?

Phil Shepka

BBC News

Taking a Covid-19 test is not as easy as it looks - as I've been finding out.

I'm in a pod, outside, ready for lift-off:


Then the gagging reflex kicks in ..


Next it's up the nose ..


And done! Bagged and secure. And fingers crossed for the result! That should come in 24 hours.


Helping Covid-19 patients 'get their voices back'

Ekpemi Irune is an ear, nose and throat consultant, and is dealing with recovering Covid-19 patients.

She's been involved in setting up a "joint Covid clinic" - supporting patients who have been in intensive care and across other units - helping them "get their voices back".

The clinic starts on Monday- and there are already 63 patients waiting to be seen.


"It is such a joy to know you have time allocated to really look after these patients, to give them the rehabilitation they need, not just treating the physical symptoms but also the impact on their quality of life," she said.

A warehouse full of PPE

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

This is extraordinary - a warehouse store at Addenbrooke's - holding A MILLION pieces of PPE.

Staff here get through 30,000 face masks every single day.


Despite the difficulty of sourcing so much PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, there's a stockpile of about 500,000 type 3r masks alone held in the hospital, with 80 people working on keeping supplies stocked.

The 'rather stressful' wait for surgery

Phil Shepka

BBC News

Dennis Barry's operation at Addenbrooke's proved a success and the abnormal growths were removed.

Clinicians say while it's impossible to know how long it would have taken for them to become cancerous they were quite a long way along that journey.

Mr Barry admits the wait between diagnosis and surgery because of lockdown was "rather stressful".

"When you hear the word 'cancer', you always think the worst. I don't care who the person is, you do worry about it," he said.

"You have to just cope with it the best way you can and hope for the best."

Mr Barry's return to sea fishing

Phil Shepka

BBC News

During his period of waiting for surgery, Dennis Barry says his "three lovely daughters" were "trying to reassure me and stay positive".

"I'm not saying it's on your mind 24/7 - you forget about it halfway through the day and then in the evening you sit down maybe have a sandwich or watching the TV and all of a sudden it'll just come back to you 'oh dear, what if I do have cancer?'."

Mr Barry, who lives in Lode, in Cambridgeshire, now says following the lockdown and his cancer scare he is back doing what he loves most - sea fishing.

"About two weeks ago I went to the beach with the wife to do a bit of fishing. It really chills you out, you forget about everything and concentrate on what you're doing."

'It's out of your hands'

Phil Shepka

BBC News

Dennis Barry
Dennis Barry

When the endoscopy unit began operations again retired carpenter Dennis Barry was one of the first through the doors.

Routine screening before the lockdown found that the 71-year-old had developed pre-cancerous polyps - abnormal tissue growths - which needed to be removed.

The pandemic meant his surgery was postponed.

Mr Barry said: "It's out of your hands at that time.

"Eventually, Addenbrooke's got in touch with me again and arranged with me to go down to have the test for Covid-19 first and then they arranged for me to enter the hospital to have the operation."

'We can now see the children and hear them'

Leah Moors is a speech and language therapist in the cleft team.


"When Covid-19 happened, we couldn't see the children over the phone - just give parents advice," she said.

"On video, we can see the children and hear them. But the downside is that we can't hear everything we're listening for in cleft.

"Listening for those tiny bits of airflow is almost impossible.

"However, they've had a therapy break during lockdown, and I am noticing speech and sound changes."

PPE: What a surgeon needs

Look at this:


Laid out neatly - all the personal protective equipment a surgeon has to don before an operation.

Two masks AND a visor.

'Patient anxieties are heightened'

We caught up with two radiographers, whose patients have had to cope with cancer treatment on top of anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic.

Catriona Ray and Dan Driver.

Catriona Ray said: "They're going through a difficult journey anyway and it's a time when they're usually have family and friends around them, so we have been the face they've been able to chat to.

"At the moment, all patients' anxieties are heightened."

Her colleague Dan Driver said: "The patient experience has been mixed. For some, because of loneliness and self-isolation during the pandemic, it's been nice for them to see and talk to people.

"Then there are people who are scared of the pandemic and wary of coming into hospital."

Meet Henry, the Addenbrooke's cat

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

When I arrived this morning I was promised a chance to meet this little guy. I haven't managed it yet but we've at least got a picture of him.

Like all celebrities, Henry the ginger tom has his own Facebook account and more than 2,000 followers.

His job: "To keep up morale of all at Addenbrooke's.....and to promote my adorable feline self."


Meet the hospital's lead chaplain, who's also a poet

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Mark Stöbert
Mark Stobert, lead chaplain at Addenbrooke's Hospital

Lead chaplain Mark Stobert says the impact of the coronavirus has been "unprecedented".

"I don't think any of us have ever experienced anything like this," he said. "A lot of our role is about us being present, and we spent a lot of time trying to get our heads around how we do that.

"We did some telephone working and slowly but surely we've got back to being present on the words."

Part of his experience of being a chaplain, and the difficulties of communicating to those in need wearing personal protective equipment, has been expressed in his poem "Learning to Speak Eyebrow".

"Learning to Speak Eyebrow", a poem by the hospital's lead chaplain
"Learning to Speak Eyebrow", a poem by the hospital's lead chaplain

Update: Dr Kanwalraj Moar

Remember our surgeon Kanwalraj Moar from early this morning?

She has seen her first patient and operated on the baby’s cleft lip. After a series of meetings - she's about to move on to patient number two.

Dr Moar

A dark period for Addenbrooke's Hospital

Back in September 2015, Addenbrooke's saw one its darkest periods when it was plunged into special measures.

Despite the quality of care considered "outstanding", there were concerns raised about staffing levels, outpatient treatment delays and governance failings.


But the hospital didn't rest on its laurels.

Within 18 months and a further Care Quality Commission inspection, it emerged stronger than before.

At the time, chief executive Roland Sinker paid tribute to the staff, saying their "outstanding care is a testament to their dedication and skill."

Meet Terry Cooper: One of the unsung heroes at the hospital

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

For the past 13 years, Terry Cooper, has been walking the hospital grounds leaving spic and span wards in his wake.

Terry Cooper
Terry Cooper

He told how throughout the coronavirus pandemic he has calmly gone about his cleaning work pretty much as before, and how he has not felt fear because he has been keen to do his bit to keep patients and staff safe.

"It has been a bit emptier," he said, "and it has been quite busy."

A key tool in his cleaning arsenal is a 'deprox machine' which has enabled him to go into a Covid-19 area and clean it using a remote control. The machine, which resembles a Dalek from Doctor Who, creates a cleaning fog which reaches every area of a room.

"Without these, we would have to mop everything," he said.

Update: The leg brace is off!

Earlier we met Becky Jackson, who broke her leg six weeks ago when her "chocolate labrador ran into it".

The good news is she's had her radiography appointment and the leg brace has finally been removed. She's very happy, especially husband Tim.

Becky and Tim Jackson

'Staff are fatigued and worn out'

Dr Adrian Boyle

After four months of transforming everything they do, you can probably forgive Dr Adrian Boyle of being “certainly ready for a holiday”.

“Within my department in the last four months we've undergone change management programmes that would normally have taken two to three, maybe even four years to do.

“We've had to do this while the department is still running and trying to work out how we can look after our patients at the same time.

“So it's been quite draining on the staff and I think we need to recognise the staff are fatigued and worn out.”