The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Rheumatology Latest News

"Not all heroes wear caps: they wear PPE"

30 September 2020

Luke Raven, 39, has shared his praise for the Rheumatology team at Chapel Allerton Hospital, who have cared for him throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luke is the owner of the Ilkley Brewery company but throughout the pandemic he has been shielding, only leaving his home to visit the hospital for regular treatment.

He said: “I have been receiving treatment for arthritis at Leeds Teaching Hospitals for 20 years. At 39 now, I have always brought down the average age at clinics! Over the past few years, my condition has deteriorated, requiring multiple operations, including a full knee replacement, and also included a bout of Sepsis.

“My condition is chronic and requires a raft of treatments and pain relief, and many involve immune system suppression. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this of course meant, that along with countless others with immune-response conditions, I was in the Extremely Vulnerable category. Very few of us would have considered our conditions to be life-critical, purely quality-of-life limiting. But suddenly we have found ourselves part of the potential "had underlying health conditions" gang.

“I attend regularly the Spondyloarthritis clinic, and the team at Chapel Allerton Hospital, where I have received care from almost all departments and wards over the years, have always been fantastic at looking after me. And during this time of crisis, when receiving our regular treatments has been more essential than ever and I've needed reassurance of my safety more than ever, I've felt completely safe in their hands. The hospital didn't remain untouched by COVID, and of course, many staff were re-purposed to help the fight directly. Through it all though, the continued dedication and support for those of us needing to come to the hospital for regular treatments, has been quite literally, a lifesaver.

“I went into shielding mode early, bringing my kids out of school and isolating as a family from the beginning of March, as I watched the situation unfold. My monthly trips to Chapel Allerton for an infusion treatment were my only meaningful forays into the outside world. While the experience isn't exactly a pleasant one by its nature, with the added fear of what could happen to me if I were to catch the virus, I really do have to salute the work everyone at the hospital has done to ensure that essential treatments, contact, and consultation have remained operational. At a time when I'm most at risk, I have never felt more looked after. Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear PPE.”

Luke Raven with some of the Rheumatology teamLuke nominated the team for ‘Hops for Heroes’, which he set up so that his customers could donate each time they made a purchase from the Ilkley Brewery web shop. The fund is made up of tokens which go towards rewards and treats for front-line workers including a meal for two, a night away in a B&B, and a bar tab.

Lynda Bailey, Lead Nurse for Rheumatology said:

“As a rheumatology department our focus has always been on delivering high quality, safe care, and this was particularly relevant for us as the pandemic started to unfold. We had to act quickly, changing the way we worked and adapting the delivery of care to the new realities in order to support our patients.

“Due to the nature of rheumatological conditions a high proportion of our patients fall into the shielding category. Many require their treatment via an intravenous therapy, and this is one of the areas where our nursing team on ward C05 excelled as they worked throughout the pandemic ensuring that some of our high risk patients continued to receive the treatment that could help keep their inflammatory conditions under control.

“We feel privileged that Luke is sharing his story, and this also gives us an opportunity to thank all the rheumatology team for continuing to provide safe compassionate care to our patients throughout this most challenging of times, putting their own anxieties aside. I feel proud to lead the nursing of such a caring and compassionate team.”