William Pooley joins the King's team in Freetown

Will1 The King’s Sierra Leone Partnership and King’s Health Partners warmly welcomes British nurse Will Pooley to their team in Freetown, Sierra Leone who are working on the frontline to halt the Ebola outbreak.

Will was previously working as a nurse treating patients in a government hospital in Kenema before being flown home from Sierra Leone in August after contracting the Ebola virus. He has now made a full recovery and flew out to Freetown today (Sunday 19 October) to join the team from King’s Sierra Leone Partnership where he will resume his nursing role. He will be working in the isolation unit at Connaught Hospital, training local staff and helping to set up new isolation units.

King’s Sierra Leone Partnership is an initiative of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, a partnership between King’s College London and three of London’s leading NHS foundation trusts – Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley. The in-country operation was launched in January 2013 by Dr Oliver Johnson and aims to strengthen Sierra Leone’s health system.

The King’s team has played a vital role in responding to the Ebola outbreak since the virus first emerged in the country in May. The role of the team has rapidly extended beyond its initial management of a 16-bed isolation unit at Connaught Hospital.  They have worked closely with the Sierra Leone Government and local and international partners to increase the local capacity to identify and treat Ebola patients, provide essential clinical training, spread best practice quickly and, by helping set up an Ebola Command Centre in Freetown, manage the effective flow of patients across the city.

The team was recently awarded £1 million by the Department for International Development as part of the UK Government’s response to the outbreak. The money will allow the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership to greatly expand its activities working with local and international partners in a clinical and advisory role to help stop the spread of Ebola.

Speaking ahead of his flight to Freetown, Will Pooley said:

“I am delighted to be returning to Sierra Leone to join the King’s Health Partners team. I would like to once again thank the team at the Royal Free Hospital and the RAF who provided me with such excellent treatment and support. But the real emergency is in West Africa, and the teams out there need all the support we can give them – I am now looking forward to getting back out there and doing all I can to prevent as many unnecessary deaths as possible”.

Welcoming Will to the team, Dr Oliver Johnson, Programme Director for the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership said:

“It is fantastic that Will has chosen to join our small team here at Connaught Hospital. The situation here in Freetown is getting worse by the day and so Will’s experience and commitment will be vital as we do everything we can to stem the flow of cases. The best way of stopping Ebola spreading even further is to fight it at its source and I look forward to working with Will to do just that.”

King’s Health Partners are raising funds to help support the ongoing Ebola response in Sierra Leone. For more information please visit http://alumni.kcl.ac.uk/about-the-ebola-emergency-appeal

Will spoke to Michael Carden of King’s Health Partners about his “unfinished business” in Sierra Leone, and you can find that interview here.

Notes to Editors

  • Will is returning to Sierra Leone to focus solely on his role as a volunteer nurse fighting Ebola. As such, neither Will nor his family will be available for media bids. We ask that you respect this desire for privacy from both parties.
  • King’s Sierra Leone Partnership is part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.
  • King’s Health Partners is one of six AHSCs in England and brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combinedstrengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. For more information, visit www.kingshealthpartners.org
  • To find out more about King’s Sierra Leone Partnership visit http://kslp.org.uk/
  • For all other media enquiries about the work of King’s Health Partners in Sierra Leone, please email Michael Carden, Head of Communications at michael.carden@kcl.ac.uk / 07825 546177 or email media@kslp.org.uk