Committee Members


Gordon Sturmey – Founder Member Patient & Chairman
In 2006 I spent four months in Royal Berkshire Hospital which included a month in ICU. Having listened to an ex patient tell of his experience while in the Unit helped me understand how important it is to give others the same opportunity.The Network meetings are able to fulfil this need and help both patients and relatives/cares manage their experiences.

Melanie Gager – Founder Member Critical Care Sister/RaCI Lead Nurse/Secretary

Sara Evans – Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse/RaCI

Lovely Sorianosos – Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse/RaCI

Helen Kieras – Critical Care Staff Nurse/RaCI

Matt Wiltshire – Founder Member Patient
In February 2003 I was asked to tell my ICU story with two other patients, hearing other experiences produced a powerful bond between us as we could relate to the words we spoke. Since then I have talked to many other patients and still get that feeling of sharing a bond and I understand how vitally important talking is to help recovery from the journey through and after ICU.

Lynne Johnson – Patient
In 2011 I spent just under a month in the Royal Berkshire Hospital, 12 days of which were in ICU. I was delighted when asked to join the Support Network Committee as I feel that the Support Group meetings provide an invaluable opportunity for patients, relatives and carers alike to talk openly and freely about their experiences and express any concerns with others who have been through a period of critical illness. Talking is an important part of the journey to recovery and the ability to do this with other patients and relatives in an informal setting is vital.

Louise Lusby – Patient & Keir Lusby – Relative
We both feel that as we had such good support from Carl Waldman, Melanie Gager and the ICU team at RBH, it is the least we can do to try and help others who have had similar experiences to us, and maybe improve in some way the months after ICU, making it a more positive experience for us all.

David Tanqueray – Patient
After spending three weeks in the RBH including a week in ICU in April 2012, I was introduced to the wonders of the after care support provided by the ICU. Through this I discovered the ICU Support Network and have attended many very fruitful evenings in the company of other “alumni” of the ICU and was delighted to be asked to help out by being on the committee.

Tammy Tanqueray – Relative
I joined my husband at the ICU Support Meetings after he had come home from a couple of them full of enthusiasm, with good cause, as I found out. Reading is very fortunate to have this Support Group with its energetic volunteers and such a dedicated team of professionals, without which it couldn’t function. I feel very honoured to have been invited to join the committee as a patient’s relative and hope I can be of some use.

Tina Longhurst – Relative

The Clinical Support Team Sara Evans, Lovely Sorianosos, Melanie Gager, Helan Kieras (not in photo Dr Carl Waldmann)


Hilary ParkerHilary Parker – Founder Member Patient
Hilary (pictured right) was a founding member who sadly passed away in 2015, Hilary enjoyed supporting ex patients and relatives during the break at meeting.

Harry Dykes – Founder Member & First Chairman Patient

Rhona Small – Founder Member Patient

Chris Maude – Founder Member Patient

Karen Crow – Patient

Foz Evans – Patient

Salli Ward – Patient

Jenny Davis – Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse/RaCI

Jean Dykes – Founder Member Relative

Kate Maude – Founder Member Relative

David Evans – Relative

Robb Scott – Relative

The Critical Care Outreach Service

The Critical Care Outreach Service is a small team of nurses who have considerable intensive care experience, who visit patients on the general wards. The purpose of the Outreach team is to support the ward staff, and advise and help in the care of patients who may need more observation and intervention.

The transition between the ward and the intensive care unit can be a stressful time for the patient, their relatives and the staff looking after them and the Outreach team aim to make that transition as smooth as possible.

The Networks Involvement in Research

  • Accelerated Experienced Based Co Design – Intensive Care Pathway (production of a DVD; information leaflets for Hallucinations and Voiceless; Introduction of iPad for communication.
  • James Lind Alliance – Future research priority setting in Intensive Care.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Relatives of Intensive Care Unit survivors – Debbie Knibbs.
  • Hallucinations Experience – Songs written by Victoria Hume (Guys and St Thomas’s Art Manager).
  • Information to GP’s after critical illness – Kings College London (current).
  • Patient Experience in ICU – the environment – Royal College of Art London (current).

Patient Involvement in NHS Research

The right of patients to be involved in research is enshrined in the NHS constitution. Critical care is a particularly difficult environment to perform research due to the time critical nature of many interventions and also issues around getting consent from patients who may be very unwell or even unconscious. The experience of the research team in Reading was that almost all patients who had be enrolled in trials while on ICU were happy to contribute. As a way of exploring the issues around consent we produced a video of the experiences of a patient and his daughter in being approached for and involved in a clinical trial.

Dr Andrew Walden
Melanie Gager, Critical Care Sister/RaCI Lead Nurse

Spiritual Healthcare supporting patients and relatives on ICU

Being seriously ill is one of those life events for which it is impossible to prepare. When we look to the future it is normally in the context of being well and we make our plans accordingly. When we or someone close to us is suddenly faced with a life threatening condition we are easily thrown off balance. Spiritual care is not just about faith; it is about trying to make sense of what is happening to us and around us. Questions that we may never have asked before demand some sort of resolution. This is where the Spiritual Healthcare team can come alongside and support you. We have no easy answers to the question of suffering, but we can journey with you as you look for meaning and purpose in it all. Attending to spiritual needs has been shown to aid recovery and is part of the holistic care that is on offer at the Royal Berks. The dedicated chaplain for ICU is Steve Sankey. You can contact him through the ICU staff or through the hospital switchboard. The Spiritual Healthcare Team (Chaplaincy) support a 24/7 service, so there is always a member of the team on-call should you need urgent care. If it is a non-urgent request you can use one of the methods below. We welcome all enquiries and will respond within an hour if the need is urgent. No position of faith will be presumed.

Steve SankeySteve Sankey (pictured right)

I am a Christian minister with many years experience working in healthcare. I have been working full time at the Royal Berkshire Hospital since January 2013 and before that I was at Basingstoke and North Hants Hospital.

I seek to be alongside all, not just those who see themselves as religious. I specialise in supporting people from diverse backgrounds including multicultural. I have no agenda other than seeking to support people experiencing difficult circumstances. I am married to Sue and we have three children and five grandchildren.

Contact Details

For urgent referrals:- Hospital Switchboard 0118 322 5111 (ask for the duty chaplain)

For non-urgent messages use one of the methods below:

Telephone: 0118 322 7105 (or ext 7105 from hospital phones)



Post: The Spiritual Healthcare Department, Royal Berkshire Hospital, London Road, READING RG1 5AN

Testimonials from people who contacted us:

“….we are so glad we called the chaplain. It was such a comfort to us and I know it was what our mother would have wanted.”

“…the chaplain was a great support – we didn’t call him, but we are so glad he showed up when he did”.

“When our son was involved in the accident we asked if the chaplain could come and see us. He sat with us through some of our darkest moments. Thankfully our son made a full recovery”.

“The chaplain prayed with our dad before the end came. I remember him telling us that hearing is often one of the last senses to go. It helps me now to picture him with my mum in heaven. It is a great comfort”.

Charitable Donations

Below is a list of how some of the ICU Charity Donations monies have been used. Donations are sometimes made to ICU for specific purposes i.e. equipment, patient comfort, staff well-being in the hospital, staff social events and training......costs that would not normally be covered by the Trust.

Equipment - Including TV's, stands and headphones, fans, Motomed (physiotherapy exercise machine designed specifically for use in ICU) etc.

Training - Including Percutaneous Tracheostomy Workshop, Bucks Deteriorating Patient study event etc.

ICU Support Group - Including printing costs for posters and newsletters, media advertising etc.

Other - Including newspapers for relatives, coffee machine, moving images project/bed with a view etc.

St. Andrews United Reform Church Donation

Donation from St. Andrews United Reform ChurchThank you to St Andrews United Reform Church for a very generous donation, which we had the pleasure of accepting at a service held there recently.

Bob Purdom writes… “St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church celebrates its 140th Anniversary on its current site on the corner of London Road and Craven Road, Reading. As a neighbour to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH), our lives have been interwoven. Our multicultural fellowship is gathered from some 24 nations around the world. Our members have been patients, visitors and volunteers, doctors and nurses and support staff and more recently one of our ministers was one of the hospital chaplains within the RBH. We have been pleased in recent years to host to the Intensive Care Teams twice-yearly memorial service for the families and friends who have died in the unit.

Each year over Christmas our members make a special retiring offering for a local and an international charity.

Granny Muttuu is our international charity, where Rosemary Voti from the area of Muttuu in Kenya, supports and cares for some 20 children orphaned through Aids/HIV.

In 2016, the Royal Berkshire Hospital ICU Charity was chosen as our local charity and at their annual church meeting in April, members decided to supplement the Christmas money raised by having a further special collection for ICU. So on Sunday 24 April, representatives from the RBH Intensive Care Unit, including ICU consultant Tim Parke, ICU sisters Sheila Hill and Melanie Gager and volunteer Gordon Sturmey, joined our morning service to talk a little about the work of the unit and receive cheques amounting to £1,070 for the charity from Bob Purdom and Reverend John Downing on behalf of the members of St Andrew’s Reading.

We send our thanks and best wishes to our neighbour, the Royal Berkshire Hospital, its patients and their families and friends, doctors and nurses and other support staff and will hold you all in our prayers.”

Dick's Gift for Intensive CareDicks gift for Intensive Care

Dick Berry was struck down with Giullain-Berre Syndrome and can remember very little about the 125 days spent in the ICU. He was sedated and on a life support machine for some time. He had a tracheotomy and was paralysed from his eyes to his feet. During this time he was supported by his wife Christine and his sons David and Peter. Dick spent four months in Royal Berks Hospital Reading and two in the West Berks Hospital, Newbury.

By way of saying thank you Dick recently presented the Unit with an £8,000 bladder scanner. Dick said "This is a gift from me because of everything they did for me. Christine was here with me every day and we got to know all the staff, they are like our extended family and I got very attached to them".

Picture right: Melanie Gager IC Sister & Nurse Lead RaCI, Dick Berry, Charmain Gromer Matron, Jane Screen IC Nurse and Christine Berry.

Listen to Dick Berry talk of his time in Intensive Care in an interview
with Sarah Walker of BBC Radio Berkshire

Wendy's Fund RaisingWendy's Fund Raising

Wendy Lee's sister and brother-in-law Tina and Simon Longhurst raised £400 for Intensive Care by organising a musical evening at The Bull in Sonning. Sadly Wendy passed away last year but the evening left fond memories of her for family and friends.

Picture right: Lovely Sorianosos – Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse, RaCI Wendy Lee, Nurse Jane Screen, Sara Evans Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse, RaCI and Melanie Gager, Melanie Gager, Critical Care Sister, RaCI Lead Nurse

Cheque presentation to ICU Support ReadingMike Crocker, Master of Hope Lodge Newbury, presents a cheque for £250 to Melanie Gager and Sara Evens of the ICU Rehabilitation after Critical Care Team and Gordon Sturmey of the Network Committee. Our thanks are also extended to the Berkshire Masonic Charity who have matched Hope’s donation with a further £250.

Also our grateful thanks are conveyed to the Reading Dispensary Trust and W Pocock & Sons Ltd Builders & Developers for their kind assistance in helping us with the expenses incurred during our formation period.

Voluntary Work

Before I was ill and spent time in ICU, I was a volunteer at the Duchess of Kent House.

When I recovered from my illness I decided that I wanted to volunteer at the RBH, as they had saved my life and I wanted to give something back.

I was delighted when Melanie Gager (Senior Sister Follow Up) asked me if I would like to volunteer and help in ICU. This has proved to be a wonderful experience, as I can relate to the patients and sometimes patients welcome a quick chat and I help to greet their relatives and visitors.

From the beginning the staff have been welcoming, appreciative and make me feel one of the Team. The first morning three years ago I felt apprehensive and nervous but Dr Carl Waldmann (ICU Consultant) put me at ease by asking me to make him a cake!!!



The volunteers provide an invaluable resource in support of the Units activities from providing tea and coffee to the staff as well as patients and their visitors to administrative support as and when needed.

Please contact the Unit if you feel you would like to contribute in some way.

Intensive Care Unit

Information for relatives and friends can be found on the Hospitals web site. It covers all aspects of the unit including:

Admission/Discharge, visiting, who staff are, equipment used, patient monitoring, pain control, medicines use, recovery, discharge and many other areas