3 October 2021

Running the London Marathon for neuro intensive care

Ben Thomas, from Bassett, is running the Virgin London Marathon this Sunday in support of his NHS colleagues in Southampton. He shares his story:

I’m the Clinical Lead Consultant caring for patients in the Neurosciences Intensive care unit (Neuro ICU) at University Hospital Southampton (UHS). I’ve been a Consultant in this unit for nearly six years.

During my postgraduate training, I saw how excellent teamwork, attention to detail, compassionate care and cutting-edge neuroscience can lead to transforming peoples’ lives for the better.

I wanted to be a part of that, so I joined the team in 2016.

UHS is a designated major trauma centre, and is one of only two places in the south of England to offer adults and children full onsite major trauma care provision.

Our Neuro ICU provides specialised intensive care for adults and some teenagers who have a severe illness or injury affecting their brain, spinal cord or nerves. We provide neurocritical care for people suffering from a range of illnesses, including trauma, stroke, neurosurgical and neurological problems.

Every patient is different, and on NICU we see around 600 patients every year.

This year I’m running the Virgin London Marathon (on 3 October 2021) in support of Southampton Hospitals Charity. As a child, I was never particularly interested in sport, but I decided to take up running in 2013.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to complete the Big 6 World Marathon challenge: London, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Boston. Running the London marathon means that I finish the journey where I started, and allows me to raise funds for a brilliant intensive care unit that is very close to my heart!

Running has been such a boost to both my physical and mental health and has hugely helped balance out the stresses of my NHS role.

I’m raising money for the Neuro ICU for two main reasons: firstly, it’s to support our patients and their families. We’d be so grateful for money to enhance the diagnostic and therapeutic equipment we have on the unit, and we’re always looking to improve our physical environment to make it the very best it can be for those people who need it.

From working in the hospital over the last 18 months, I also know the strain that has been upon our staff, with many of our ICU staff caring for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in addition to our Neuro ICU work.

We have around 140 staff in our team, and I want to prioritise their wellbeing. I hope to raise some money for staff socials and pizza nights on shift to give them a boost during a long shift, or to provide something that they can look forward to.

These things may seem trivial, but they are vital in improving morale in our workforce, and ultimately a happy well cared-for team will go a long way to enhancing patient care even further.”

Any support will go a long way to supporting those most in need, whether critically ill patients, or our NHS heroes.

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