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, Nurse Consultant in Critical Care/Secretary

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.

Stuart Holmes – Patient
March 2017, I developed acute sepsis which left me critically ill and saw me being treated in ICU for 3 weeks. The Rehab after Critical Illness program and the Support Group illustrated the immense value of follow up care and the ability to meet with people who have faced similar issues. Being a part of the committee will hopefully give me the opportunity to help others and enable me to go some way to repaying the support I and my family received.

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.

Richard Berry – Patient
After having spent ten and a half months in hospital in 2013 with Guillain Barre Syndrome, of which 125 days were spent in ICU, I felt that I wanted to give something back in return for having my life saved by the ICU team. I was, therefore, honoured and only too happy to accept the invitation to join the Network Support Group Committee. It is a valuable follow-on of the after care support offered in hospital and gives ex-patients and family members the opportunity to share their experiences. I hope that by being on the Committee I will be of some help to others.

Christine Berry – Relative
I felt very privileged when I was invited to become a Committee member of the Network Support Group. The ICU team offered my sons and I invaluable support when my husband spent just over 4 months in ICU with Guillain Barre Syndrome. ICU became my second home and the ICU team my extended family. The Support Group is invaluable for ex-patients and their relatives. It is good to meet and socialise with people who have had similar experiences. I hope that I will be able to contribute something worthwhile by being on the Committee.

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

Past Founder Members

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

Jean Dykes – Founder Member Relative

Kate Maude – Founder Member Relative

Sara Evans – Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse/RaCI

Staff Excellence Awards 2020

Three individuals with direct involvement in Intensive Care were nominated for the Staff Excellence Awards Awards at the end of 2020; they were Matt Wiltshire, Volunteer, Dr Carl Waldmann, Consultant in IC and Angela Forster, Critical Care & Respiratory Medicine Matron. The contribution they have made over a number of years not only to IC but also the Emergency Department is highlighted in support of their nominations.

Matt Wiltshire

For over 15 years Matt has been going above and beyond for the RBH. Matt was key in working with the Trust to introduce volunteers into the ED area. These volunteers needed to be carefully selected and trained to work in an appropriate and safe manner. Matt helped to develop the programme and facilitates the training and coordination of all the volunteers.

His commitment to the Trust is outstanding, and he is an example to us all in his attitude, his determination and his support of staff and patients.

Carl Waldmann

Carl’s contribution to the world of intensive care over the last three decades has been outstanding. Carl was appointed President of the Intensive Care Society and subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care medicine. He has been at the forefront of innovation, policy and practice, and has been an international role model for healthcare professionals, raising the national and international profile of the Trust. His achievements are too many to be able to list here, but as his nomination said, he is a true legend, and we will never see the like of him again.

Angela Forster

Angela demonstrates the Trust values in all she does. She is open, transparent, and her vision is for all staff experience to be as good as possible as this impacts on care for patients and their families. Angela celebrates successes and encourages creativity. She holds people to account, and encourages others to also hold her to account. Her enthusiasm is infectious, as is her determination for seeking solutions for problems.

Matt Wiltshire was awarded the Volunteer of the Year and Dr Carl Waldmann received the Chairman's Award. On this occasion Angela Forster who was nominated for the The Most Inspiring Nurse/Midwife or AHP did not win the award.

We would like to express our thanks to these three individuals not only for their contribution to RBH but for the support given to patients and relatives/carers through their involvement in our Support Network.

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).
  • Biomarker Guided Duration of Antibiotic Treatment in Hospitalised Patients with Moderate or Severe Sepsis (ADAPT).
  • A Feasibility Study of Early Mobilisation Programmes in Critical Care.
  • Physical Rehabilitation Core Outcomes in Critical Illness (PRACTICE): Protocol for Development of a Core Outcome.
  • Exploring Co-Design to Support Local Quality Improvement Work: Involving Service Users in the Qualitative Analysis of Patient Narrative (ESRC).
  • Understanding How Frontline Staff use Patient Experience Data for Service Improvement: An Exploratory Case Study and Survey (Us-PEx)

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.

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 Flex Focus Ultrasound machine, 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.

Charmain Clayton used crowd funding – a brilliant idea – to raise money in memory of Karen Kelleher, a fund called In the hope of Kelleher. Here she explains the ideas behind it.

“We've spent a lot of time in the waiting room, relative rooms and the hospital coffee shop over the last two years. Everybody at the Royal Berks was kind, caring and supportive to my sister, but also to us, her family. This project came to heart after Karen's final hours in ICU, when I felt the need to do something in her name. This project is about raising money for the staff and patients of the ICU. We want to help them carry on providing the excellent care that they do to all of their patients, to raise some money so we can provide toiletries, blankets, refreshments for the relatives’ room and new books/magazines for the waiting room.

Having a loved one in intensive care is emotional, exhausting, frightening and a place where time stands still. That's why we want to make it as comfortable as we can for other families that are going through it. This will be the start of something special...

I'm going to pledge birthday and Christmas gifts: In the hope of Kelleher will provide a great deal. Karen liked being kind.”

Julie and Joy Turner's Christmas craft table

Julie and Joy Turner's Christmas craft table.
Julie (ex patient) and her mother Joy have for a number of years produced Christmas cards and gifts for sale at the Support Networks December meeting. Their hard works always brings in excess of £100 which they donate to the ICU . The Network is extremely grateful for the effort Julie and Joy make and their continuing support is very much appreciated.

Julie and Joy Turner's Christmas craft table

At a recent meeting a raffle was organised and help by Jenny Streams (ex patient). It raised £50 which again was generously donated to the ICU.

Sadly Jenny recently passed away and her outstanding commitment and passion for the support group will not be forgotten. Jenny was also a well respected member of the nursing staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and will always be fondly remembered by both colleagues and patients alike.

Colleagues reminisces and memories

Jenny Streams was most definitely a 'one off' - a paediatric nurse who was passionate about her calling, a supportive colleague and loyal friend.

She dedicated most of her working life to paediatrics and the Royal Berks. She worked on Kempton when it was the general paediatric ward, which then moved to Hurley Ward, working mainly in the toddler bay which she loved. She also worked for a time on Gauvain, a paediatric orthopaedic ward. The final years of her career were in Children's clinic.

In the words of a colleague she was a true inspiration to friends, children and their families and staff. Despite her deteriorating health in the latter years she was reluctant to retire and maintained her sense of fun and mischief. She had many fascinating stories to tell and began writing her life story that she hoped would be published one day. She enjoyed travelling around the UK and Europe often on her own and visited South Africa more than once. She loved to regale friends with tales of her travels and more than once she got involved in helping someone who was unwell and managed to get an upgrade as a reward.

She enjoyed visiting her sister, nieces and their children in Holland and she was very close to her brothers and their families who live in the Reading area.

For many years she was involved in Dreamflight, a charity that changes young lives through taking children with serious illness or disability to Disney World Florida, giving up her annual leave and raising money to do so.

Since her extended admission to ICU at the beginning of 2019 she became a great supporter of the ICU Patient Support group who had provided amazing aftercare when she was discharged. She was so grateful for the outstanding care she received in ICU and couldn't praise the staff concerned enough. She wanted to repay them by fundraising.

Since discharge from ICU Jenny had lived her life to the full. She was contented and grateful for the second chance she had been given. She loved meeting up with friends and family, especially the 'Old Gals' group of ex-colleagues!

Rest in Peace Jenny, you will be greatly missed by so many....

Other donations

We received donations and some very kind words from Terry Rogers, Mr and Mrs Bamford and Gary Pook, who raise money for us every year. Grateful thanks to you all

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.

Donating to ICU

Cheques should be payable to “U450 Intensive Care” and sent to Laura Milsom, c/o Intensive Care Unit, Royal Berkshire Hospital, London Road, Reading RG1 5AN.

To donate electronically go to and click the link that fits your needs and follow the instructions.

If you are setting up a regular monthly, or one off payment please identify that it is going to ICU in the commentary. You can set up a direct debit or make a one off payment into the Charity bank account– Lloyds TSB / Acc No 01587673 / Sort Code 30 96 96. Please reference the payment with your surname and the fund number U450.

Finally you can text HICU00 £5 to 70070 to donate to Royal Berks Charity and make a difference today. You can change the amount when asked how much you would like to give.

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