29.07.16 Since my last blog, I have role played and I have been dismayed – and then heartened! And, of course, because I have met some wonderful people, I have also been thrilled. Mine truly is a roller-coaster job. Firstly, the role play. I volunteered to be part of a secret mission to witness what happened when three people walked in off the street describing symptoms that could have been the result of a chemical spillage, meaning that many people may have been affected. The Royal Brompton team had no idea this was going to happen – a true test of their professionalism – and they were very good indeed. They immediately put their emergency process into practice. They were calm and caring. It was fascinating. One of the aspects of my role was not only to observe what happened, but also to calm down any outpatients in the waiting room, should they became anxious about what they saw. Actually, the whole scenario was so calm that the patients took no notice at all. I feel assured that our colleagues would handle such a situation extraordinarily well if it were to happen for real. However, I was dismayed (and still am rather) by the announcement that NHS England intend to decommission congenital heart disease services here at Royal Brompton. But I feel heartened too, because we have such good stories to tell, and so many fantastic patients and families standing by to support us, that I can’t see it happening. This is a wonderful hospital, with a brilliant reputation. And of course there are the patients, and the fundraisers, and the volunteers and the families… There will, of course, be more on this subject in the coming weeks and months. "I feel heartened because we have such good stories to tell, and so many fantastic patients and families standing by to support us" Also heartening was the fantastic response we received from our appeal to sponsor a brick for our Intensive Care Unit at Harefield – thank you to all those who did so! (Did you miss it? Click here for more information.) And finally, another reason to be cheered – the extraordinary Dave Read (pictured second from left) has completed his cycle ride from Harefield to Royal Brompton to raise funds for the charity. But in case you thought that sounded easy, Dave didn’t go the direct route – far from it, in fact. He covered huge areas of the south of England, and ended up cycling a whopping 734 miles. You can read his blog here. But doing so comes with a health warning – I felt breathless just reading it! Very well done Dave. What a legend!