If it is a bit late to wish you a Happy New Year, I'm sorry. I have been on holiday with my family, so have not been able to update the blog until now. But I do very much mean it, and if you are reading this, you are probably a supporter of our Charity, so I'd also like to say thank you. 

New year, new plans

I have come back refreshed and excited for a new year with plenty of new plans. First, we are about to launch a brand new appeal to support Royal Brompton in creating a state-of-the-art new Cardiac Catheter Laboratory, where hundreds of patients will undergo life-saving procedures each year. 

Never happy to settle for anything ordinary, our medical colleagues turned to us to help them buy the very latest equipment. Their budget stretched to creating the new 'cath lab' (as it is known), but, it being a tight NHS budget, inevitably they ran out before they could equip the facility with a new Artis One Scanner. This takes the very best quality images of our patients' hearts, to help consultants diagnose conditions more quickly and effectively. The scanner comes with cutting-edge monitors and a table that enables greater movement, which in turn helps generate clear and crisp images. Please look out for more on our 2018 ambitions in our newsletter News Beat, and on social media. You can learn more and help us reach our target here. 

Starting as we mean to go on

At Harefield, we mark the new year by completing an appeal... thanks to some amazing donors, who gave small, medium and two particularly splendid large gifts to our 3D Heart Surgery Appeal, we have now raised all the money needed to buy the Einstein Vision endoscopic camera system. This enables surgeon to operate in 3D on screens that magnify the operation.

Goodness, when I think of what is achieved today, it really is remarkable - equipment and precision that were only dreams just a couple of decades ago. The Einstein Vision, like other equipment used at our two hospitals, means that our patients can have minimally invasive surgery, rather than open-heart surgery, which takes a lot longer to recover from. Sometimes, patients are even awake during procedures, where just a few years ago, they would have been under a long general anaesthetic, with all the complications that can bring.  

Put your best foot forward...

We have one very special event this month and I have got my tickets already. If you are a fan of ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dancing for those uninitiated!) and wish to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland's most famous poets, come to our Burns Night Ceilidh on Saturday 27 January. It's going to be a very special evening. All funds raised on the night are going to create a beautiful garden for patients, their families and the staff at Harefield Hospital to enjoy - another new appeal! You can learn more about the event and buy your tickets now by clicking here. We would love to see you there!