The Charity is committed to funding innovative treatment, equipment and research to support our hospitals' world-class care.  

In partnership with the research office, the Charity launched a fellowship in 2019 for non-medical health professionals, which awards staff with up to £50,000 in funding, allowing them to undertake up to 12 months of work to develop their research skills and produce data to win further funding.  

The awardees for 2020 are Thomas Burgoyne, Senior Paediatric Scientist, Timothy Jenkins, Specialist Physiotherapist, Ali Nuh, Senior Biomedical Scientist and Charlotte Wells, Specialist Respiratory Paediatric Physiotherapist. We spoke to Timothy about his role at Royal Brompton and goals for the grant 

What does your job entail?

As a physiotherapist I work with patients recovering from surgery and critical illness in intensive care; Some patients require chest physiotherapy to clear retained secretions, and other patients require intensive input from physiotherapy during and following critical care where they can lose strength and muscle mass. 

Do you work with both heart and lung patients? 

As a rotational member of staff, I work with both heart and lung patients, but I have been working with heart patients for the past 13 months. 

 How did you get into this area of physiotherapy, what particularly interested you about it? 

Before working as a physiotherapist, I was an intensive care nurse; seeing the work physiotherapists did in intensive care made me decide to retain and specialise as a respiratory physiotherapist. 

 What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

I love all aspects of my job, but the most rewarding part is seeing extremely weak patients who have had a long stay in critical care requiring intensive physiotherapy, walk out of the ward and go home. 

How long can it take for those who have been on life support to get their strength back? Give me a brief insight into how you might treat a patient. 

Research shows that critical illness survivors suffer significant functional disability which can persist for over 5 years. Hospital-based rehabilitation can last for months or even years, with patients requiring ongoing support at home after hospital discharge or community-based rehabilitation. 

Once a patient has been deemed medically fit for rehabilitation and awake enough to participate, they will be reviewed for functional rehabilitation. This will be patient-specific and can include chest physiotherapy, sitting practice, standing practice and walking. 

What do you hope to achieve with this grant? 

This grant and research is key to understanding the impact of muscle wasting in critical care and its links to muscle strength and function. Understanding these links could help to develop more robust, evidence-based interventions that could improve outcomes. 

How do you feel about receiving this grant? 

I feel extremely privileged to receive the charity fellowship grant and excited about my first step into research. 


Gill Raikes, the Charity’s chief executive, was part of the judging panel and said:  

This is the second year the Charity has funded these fellowships and it is a great pleasure to be part of this programme which enables colleagues to discover and develop their ambitions.  I am the most lay of all the lay people on the panel to choose who will receive these fellowships. It is terribly hard as all the proposals are such a high standard and all sound so good, the Charity would have loved to have funded them all

Read more about the fellowship on the Trust’s website