Gynaecology Cancer team completes first successful robot surgery

The Gynaecology Cancer team at the N&N has recently undertaken its first successful robotic surgery, using one of the two new robots brought thanks to a £1m donation from the N&N Hospital’s Charity, to perform a laparoscopic surgery.

Tim Duncan is the first Gynaecology Consultant trained to use a robot and explains the benefits for patients.

“In our department, we have a long history of using minimally-invasive surgery (laparoscopic) to provide high-quality treatment with improved post-operative outcomes. Robotic surgery represents advancement in this form of surgery, allowing increasingly complex procedures to be performed. Thanks to the robot, operating times can be reduced from five to three hours and patients will be in less pain when they are recovering.

 “The four- robotic arms allow me to perform manoeuvres that wouldn’t be possible using conventional laparoscopic instruments. As a surgeon, during a long operation your body is under a lot of strain, often spending hours in uncomfortable positions. This can lead to injuries. However, operating with the robot means I am seated at a console away from the patient, which is a more comfortable position to work in.

“The robot has a FireFly utility: this is a function of the camera that allow us to visualise dye within lymphatic channels and continue the implementation of sentinel lymph nodes, which are the nodes where a cancer spreads to first, so by finding and examining these nodes we can accurately assess if cancer has spread of not.

These techniques are at the forefront of endometrial cancer treatment and something we had begun to develop using standard laparoscopic equipment. These procedures allow us to accurately pin-point where a cancer may potentially spread to.”

In order to perform the first surgery, Tim and his team were assisted by nurses from Urology, who already have significant experience of robotic surgery.

“I had to go through lengthy training on virtual reality simulators and models before operating on patients,” he said. “The theatre team had to learn new skills, such as how to place instruments into robot arms, positioning the robot correctly over the patient and how to correct small technical issues that may happen during a surgery.

“Initially, around three operations per week will now be conducted by our team using the robot, but there are plans to extend the number of surgeons in our department who are trained to use the robot. This will enable us to deliver the advantages of robotic surgery to a wider group of patients, in particular those with endometrial cancer.”

CrombieGynaecology Cancer team completes first successful robot surgery
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Hospital Charity’s Christmas campaign with a difference

The annual appeal to give every patient at the Norfolk and Norwich University a gift on Christmas Day will take place this year but with changes in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

Each year, the N&N Hospitals Charity’s Send a Smile with Santa appeal collects more than 1,000 presents kindly donated by the members of the public and businesses across Norfolk.

These are then distributed to patients, both young and old, who will spend Christmas in hospital and are unable to celebrate at home with their families.

However, with social distancing measures in place this year, the charity is asking people who would like to give a present to a patient, to instead make a small donation which could then be used by the charity to purchase a gift.

The only exception will be children’s gifts which can be dropped off across a number of specific days in early December.

Louise Cook, Head of Fundraising, said: “Send a Smile is now in its fifth year and each year we are so grateful for the wonderful gifts given to us which we know make a huge difference to our patients.

“It’s fantastic that people go out and purchase a present, but this year as we look to minimise footfall to the hospital, we hope that people will consider making a donation which we will use to purchase a present. For example, £5 could help us to buy a toiletries’ gift set which will be wrapped up and given out on Christmas morning.

“We know that people do enjoy choosing and purchasing gifts for our children so we are accepting presents in early December for our youngest patients to give us time to quarantine the items and then wrap them up for each individual child.”

Gifts for children can only be dropped off at the hospital’s West Inpatients Reception from December 1-7 which is open 24 hours.

All presents should be new and remain unwrapped so that the hospital can ensure they are suitable for each child before being wrapped up. In addition to gifts, the hospital would also welcome donations of new gift bags and wrapping paper.

If you would like to support Christmas at the hospital, please make a donation here

For more information about the work of the hospital charity go to

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Help illuminate the skies at NNUH

For the last two years the N&N Hospitals Charity has brought Christmas to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by transforming and illuminating the plaza in December with a twinkling displays of snowflakes.

This year we are again asking for the support of the community and business partners by sponsoring the snowflake display with the Christmas snowflakes display representing a beacon of hope in support of teams at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals who have faced the most challenging year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Nancy Fontaine, NNUH Chief Nurse, said: “2020 has been a very difficult year for so many people around Norfolk and I am so proud of the support shown to our hospitals.

“At this special time of year we would like to light up the hospital, so it can be enjoyed by staff, patients and visitors.

“We appreciate that it has been an exceptionally difficult year and would be delighted for as many businesses as possible, that are willing and able, to get behind the Snowflake Appeal to not only to support the work of our staff but illuminate the hospital at the end of 2020 to celebrate the start of a hopeful New Year.”

Louise Cook, head of fundraising at the hospital, added: “This idea has been used by other hospitals in the country to support their hospital charities and we would love for Norfolk businesses to help us shine bright this year. We hope display will be enjoyed by everyone visiting the hospital, and will raise money for the charity which in turn is used to benefit patients, staff and visitors.”

If you would like more information about sponsoring the snowflake display, please contact or or call 01603 286786.

To find out more about the N&N Hospital Charity please visit

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New breast cancer unit takes shape as part of Boudicca Appeal

A one-stop shop is now being offered to all patients referred by their GP to the breast cancer unit at the N&N thanks to the Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal.

The N&N Hospitals Charity £800,000 appeal to create a dedicated breast cancer unit at NNUH has raised more than £400,000 thanks to donations from members of the public, groups and businesses alike.

Two years on, the area is unrecognisable with new equipment already in place.

The news comes during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the N&N Hospitals Charity is marking the occasion by encouraging people to continue to support the Boudicca Appeal.

Donations have already been used to purchase a Stereotactic mammography system which uses low-dose x-rays to help locate a breast abnormality and remove a tissue and is less invasive than surgical biopsy.

Also now being used is a Hologic LOCalizer guidance system so that very small breast cancers can be more accurately and less invasively identified during diagnosis and surgery, improving the patient’s experience and further reducing the need for multiple visits to hospital.

Matt Keeling, Deputy Divisional Operations Director (Surgery), said: “Having purchased the additional equipment required for the new clinic, we are now looking to create the new space for our patients and staff. The second phase will be all about creating a space that is supportive, welcoming and friendly for patients and relatives at what can be a very worrying time.”

“In recent months, we have been focused on our work with the Covid-19 pandemic and now we would like to focus on completing our Breast Cancer clinic and this is a fantastic way to kick start the appeal again.”

Arne Juette, Consultant Radiologist and Director of Breast Screening at NNUH, added: “We are so grateful for people helping us achieve our first goal to fundraise for this new, up-to-date equipment and we hope people will be inspired to see what they have helped to achieve is now making a real difference to our patients.

“The new equipment since its installation has allowed us to start offering a one stop shop service to all our referrals, compared to only two-thirds of patients who were receiving this service before Boudicca. This was one of the main aims of the appeal when we launched. We would urge everyone to help us complete the rest of the appeal.”

Among the biggest fundraisers have been the five Rotary Clubs of Norwich, along with the Desira Group and East Bilney Coachworks, which have raised more than £60,000 over the past year. [embedyt][/embedyt]

The Rotary Clubs are among those nominated in the upcoming Charity awards in recognition of their work to raise money for the appeal. This has included organising a charity ball, quiz, numerous local fundraising events, and the raffle of a car, provided by Desira and East Bilney Coachworks.

For more information about the Boudicca Appeal and how you can help, go to


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Skin cancer treatment chair in place after radiographer’s cycle challenge

A specialist chair for patients undergoing skin cancer treatment is now in place at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital thanks to a cycling challenge by a member of staff.

Lead Therapy Radiographer, Abigael Polley, set out to cycle 1,870 miles during 2019 and 2020 as part of a sponsored challenge to raise the £4,353 needed to purchase the chair for the radiotherapy department, which helps patients who need to wait for up to 30 minutes while a personalised mask is made.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Abigael has managed to complete almost 900 miles this year, and raise more than £3,640 in donations, many from her current and past patients. Further donations to the N&N Hospitals Charity have been used to complete the purchase.

Abigael said: “Some cancer patients need personalised masks made for their skin cancer treatment and due to mobility and breathing difficulties, this chair is more appropriate for their needs than the current flat couch.

“I had a number of massive donations – both from friends and skin cancer patients and their families who wanted to do something for the NNUH Radiotherapy department.

“I am astounded and humbled by their generosity and faith. 2019 saw me cycling 870-miles with the main aim of covering 450-miles over eight rides in eight months. I averaged 56-miles per ride and raised an amazing £2,700 so I decided to continue in 2020 to try and raise the difference.

“It’s fantastic to finally have the chair in place and already makes a huge difference to our patients.”

As well as cycling, Abigael also took on a personal challenge – an abseil down The Forum in Norwich last year, tackling her fear of heights and also receiving donations from supporters.

Head of Radiotherapy, Mark Gilham, said: “I am immensely proud of my colleague and everyone who has supported her. She saw there was a way to enhance the care of our patients and she actively went out to make this happen.”

Donations can still be made to the department via Abigael’s fundraising page here.

For more information about the N&N Hospitals Charity and how you can support us, go to
or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NNUHCharity or

Photograph: Abigael Polley on the new treatment chair with Dr Jenny Nobes and Jessica Whitpen.jpg Abigael Polley on the new treatment chair with Dr Jenny Nobes and Jessica Whitpen


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First annual In Memory & Never Forgotten remembrance service

The first annual @NNUHCharity In Memory & Never Forgotten remembrance service was held in the NNUH Chapel on Monday behind closed doors due to the current pandemic. Execs from the Trust were invited to attend the event and say a few words to honour those we have lost.



CrombieFirst annual In Memory & Never Forgotten remembrance service
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Leaf marking £1m donation placed on hospital Celebratory Tree

A copper leaf, celebrating the £1m donation to the N&N Hospitals Charity, has been placed on the ‘Eternal Celebratory Tree’ at Cromer and District Hospital.

The family of Douglas de Bootman handed over £1,078,519.30 at the end of last year which the retired farmer had left in his will to Cromer Hospital.

The new leaf is the first to be placed on the tree since it moved to its new permanent position inside the hospital, making way for the new state-of-the-art cancer care and support centre being built at the hospital.

The copper tree, which is more than two metres tall, stands in the atrium of the hospital.

Members of the public are being invited to purchase their own dedicated leaf to remember and celebrate someone special.

People can sponsor and dedicate either a maple leaf or an oak leaf for £50, which is then personalised with a message and hung on the tree.

N&N Hospitals Charity Head of Fundraising, Louise Cook, said: “Once a leaf has been purchased, it will be a part of the tree for at least three years.

“Your leaf will be engraved with your message, name or dates as an unique way to remember a special person or occasion.

“All money raised from the leaves will go to our Cromer Fund which directly benefits patients, visitors and staff to Cromer Hospital site.”

For more information or to purchase a leaf, please contact or telephone 01603 287107.


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Gifts bring parents closer to NICU babies

Families have been able to remain close to their babies despite the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to gifts from members of the public.

Visiting restrictions on the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at the N&N were introduced in March as coronavirus cases spread throughout the country.

This meant the parents of some of our youngest patients were restricted to the amount of time they could spend on the unit with their baby.

However, the NICU team received gifts through the Amazon Wish List, including Polaroid films which have been used to capture the special moments when parents can’t be there.

Diaries have allowed staff to give parents an up-to-date account of their child’s time on NICU, while footprint and handprint kits have also been gifted to give parents an extra-special reminder when they can’t be on the unit.

Kate McColl, Family Care Sister on NICU said: ‘ We are incredibly grateful for the support people have given not just to our unit during Covid 19 but across the hospital. The Amazon Wish List is a lovely idea allowing people to buy items directly that will benefit our patients and families’

The Amazon Wish List is coordinated by the N&N Hospitals Charity and items are added when requested by the teams throughout the hospital.

Head of Fundraising, Louise Cook said: “We are always extremely grateful to the many people who choose gifts from our Amazon list for our amazing teams.

“We know lots of our supporters prefer to choose a gift rather than a donation and this is a great way to support our hospitals – just purchase the gift online and it comes straight to the team which has chosen the item.”

If you would like to purchase an item from our wish list, go to NNUH Amazon Wish List, don’t forget to use Amazon Smile when you make a purchase and choose our charity to benefit.

Items are updated all the time so if there’s nothing you want to purchase at the moment, please keep checking back.

For more information about the hospital charity, go to



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Winners announced in football charity raffle

Thank you to everyone who took part in the recent N&N Hospitals Charity raffle which has raised more than £3,000 for the Acute Oncology Service at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Former England, West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool footballer Joe Cole and BT Sport presenter and Norfolk-born Jake Humphrey were among those backing the appeal.

Teams from across the country, and further afield, donated a selection of amazing prizes, including a Liverpool Cap signed by Jurgen Klopp, signed Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, RB Leipzig, West Ham, Norwich City and Arsenal shirts, a signed Chelsea shirt and ball and a shirt signed by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

The campaign was spearheaded by fundraiser David Giess who has worked in the football industry and whose wife, Anne, was treated for ovarian cancer at NNUH. Sadly, she passed away last September, but fundraising has continued in her memory.


The raffle was drawn on 3 August 2020 and the winners and winning numbers are:

1st  Signed Liverpool FC Cap by Jurgen Klopp      Mr Lampett, Coventry 2414

2nd Signed Man Utd Shirt                                       Mrs Knightley, Norwich 30, 08

3rd Signed Tottenham FC Shirt                               Miss Tunmore, Norwich 1140

4th Signed Arsenal FC Shirt                                     Mr Bishop, Norwich 1307

5th Signed Chelsea Shirt & ball                                Mrs Bastow, Nottingham 679

6th Signed Sadio Mane Liverpool FC Shirt               Mr Bavin, Wymondham 281

7th Signed Norwich FC Shirt                                     Mrs Rennie, Norwich 1227

8th Signed RB Leipzig Shirt                                       Ms Alpin, Norwich 4190

9th Signed West Ham FC Shirt                                  Mr Matthews, Norwich  1427

The N&N Hospitals Charity raises money to support patients, their families and our staff at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. For more information, go to


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Boudicca Way walk marks new stage in breast clinic fundraising

A Rotary Club president has walked the entire length of the Boudicca Way in one of his final acts as president while raising money for the N&N Hospitals Charity Boudicca Breast Cancer appeal.

Phil Catchpole, President of Diss Rotary Club, set off on July 7 from Diss and walked the 36 miles to Norwich and immediately turned around to walk back again, completing the 72 miles in 24 hours and seven minutes.

The walk raised more than £3,000 for the breast cancer appeal which aims to provide a dedicated breast unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Another £3,000 was raised for Tiger Testing at the UEA which identifies aggressive prostate cancers.

To celebrate handing over the £3,078 to the Boudicca Appeal, Phil decided to walk from Diss to the hospital to meet N&N Hospitals Charity Director John Paul Garside and Deputy Divisional Director Matt Keeling.

Mr Garside said: “It has been a pleasure working with the Rotaries over the past year and their incredible support of the Boudicca Appeal and we are so delighted that the Diss Rotary has raised £3,000 for the second stage of our Boudicca Appeal, where we start to create the environment and the clinic for patients.”

Mr Keeling said: “Having purchased the additional equipment required for the new clinic, we are now looking to create the new space for our patients and staff.

“In recent months, we have been focused on our work with the Covid pandemic and now we would like to focus on completing our Breast Cancer clinic and this is a fantastic way to kick start the appeal again.”

For more information about the Boudicca Appeal and how you can help, go to






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