The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Teaching Hospitals surgeon and play specialist recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2019

28 December 2018

A world renowned hand transplant surgeon and a leading therapeutic and specialist play service manager from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have both been named in this year’s New Year Honours list.

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Professor Simon Kay and Mrs Lisa Beaumont have been separately honoured for their services to patients: Simon in his capacity as a leading consultant plastic surgeon and Lisa for her work with the British and World Transplant Games.

Julian Hartley, Chief Executive, says, “I’m absolutely delighted to hear the news that both Simon and Lisa have been recognised for their contributions.

“It will come as no surprise to Simon’s patients and colleagues that he has been awarded an OBE. His dedication to the field of plastic surgery and the improvements he’s made to patients’ quality of life is immeasurable. Many people are familiar with Simon’s pioneering work in leading the UK’s only hand transplant service but he has also made a life-long commitment to caring for children and young people with hand trauma and complex abnormalities which has transformed hundreds of lives.

“Lisa goes the extra mile in everything she does and always goes out of her way to support our patients and their families. Over the years, her work helped children and young people to live with their transplants, raised awareness of the organ donor register and helped families through some difficult times. Through her, children and families with shared experiences have met and become lifelong friends; achieving goals that wouldn’t have been possible without Lisa’s input.

“I speak for the whole Trust when I say that we are very proud of both Simon and Lisa, honoured to work alongside them and grateful for their fantastic dedication and commitment to patient care.”

Professor Simon Kay studied medicine at Oxford University before going on to train in general surgery and then his chosen field of plastic surgery, including a year at the world-renowned centre for hand surgery in Louisville, Kentucky.  

After moving to Yorkshire as a consultant, Simon developed a children’s hand surgery service that is now the largest in the UK, and made pioneering advances in microsurgery for complex hand abnormalities in children and reconstruction in adults. He also opened and developed the largest centre for birth palsy in the UK, again pioneering microsurgery in their reconstruction. He and his team have helped hundreds of children to improve the function and aesthetics of their hands after trauma and to gain more function for those born with hand deformities. One of his proudest achievements has been to champion the value of clinical psychology in all reconstructive surgery, but especially bringing an holistic approach to the child and family.

Simon is known for his pioneering work in hand transplantation, having performed the UK’s first hand transplant in 2012. Five people in England have now benefited from this surgery, which is only performed in Leeds by Simon and his team.  

Simons says, “The type of surgery we undertake is very complex, and collaboration is vital. It is no coincidence that we conduct this work in an environment at Leeds Teaching Hospitals where the widest range of supporting skills is available and where the highest calibre of people populate our very large team which ranges across specialties and at every level of our work. For me to work with that team is a matter of great pride.

“It is with that in mind that I really believe this Honour recognises also that very special team and their highly skilled and professional work.”

Simon has been honoured with an OBE in this year’s New Year Honours List.

Lisa Beaumont has dedicated over 30 years to helping children in hospital before, during and after their treatment.

Lisa is a highly trained specialist and her and her team of 23 play staff ensure children and young people are supported on their journey by empowering them and giving them choice whilst they are in hospital. The team uses their expertise to normalize a young patient’s experience through play and activities, and also provides tailored preparation and distraction for children undergoing procedures or surgery.

Every year, Lisa organises for a team of 35-40 children and young people from the Leeds Children’s Hospital to take part in the British Transplant Games and she manages the Team GB Juniors at the World Transplant Games too. Lisa is the children’s representative for Transplant Sport.

Lisa says, “The support and friendship at the Transplant Games is unbelievable. You can’t measure it.  I love that we can make that happen. When you see children who’ve been so very ill for often years, and you’ve seen their families struggle through that very long  journey and then a donor becomes available for them….oh my. The gift of life is just priceless. Knowing you can make a difference in that journey is wonderful.”

In addition, Lisa works closely with charities including Make a Wish and Rays of Sunshine to ensure that patients and their families have all the support they need and she often organizes and accompanies children on trips abroad (such as skiing in Switzerland) in order to help build their confidence and fulfill their personal goals.

Much of Lisa’s work is voluntary and undertaken in her own time; providing opportunities for children and young people who, without Lisa, would not have had the range and quality of life experiences made available to them by her work.

Lisa continues, “I was speechless when I received the news that I had been given this Honour. I feel completely honoured that people have taken the time to nominate me. I do these things for the children and to give them the best experiences in life. Everything we do also raises awareness of organ donation - it is about getting more people to register and share their wishes with their family so that we can help even more children to have a transplant.”

Lisa has been honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in this year’s New Year Honours List.