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PHA UK co-founder receives prestigious national recognition

PRESS RELEASE | 14th October 2021

The founder of a Sheffield-based rare disease charity has been highly commended in his category of a prestigious national nursing awards.

Dr Iain Armstrong, chair of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) in Chapeltown, was recognised in the ‘Innovations in your Specialty’ category of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Nursing Awards.

The virtual ceremony took place on Tuesday and was hosted by TV presenter Kate Garraway.

Iain, who also works as a nurse consultant at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, was praised for his work in creating ‘EmPHasis-10’ – a clinical tool that measures quality of life for people with the rare disease pulmonary hypertension.

Designed as a simple questionnaire 11 years ago, it is now used around the world to help doctors and nurses understand how patients affected by this condition are responding to treatment. The tool addresses healthcare in a more holistic way by asking questions about mental wellbeing and general health, as well as about specific symptoms of the disease.

Stocksbridge-based Iain said: “I was stunned to be recognised in this category amongst such outstanding finalists. I am very proud of what has been achieved with EmPHasis-10, and the part it plays in helping people with pulmonary hypertension enjoy a better quality of life.”

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare disease caused by the thickening and stiffening of the blood vessels supplying the lungs. The reduced blood flow makes it harder for the right side of the heart to pump blood through the arteries, which can result in heart failure.

The main symptom of PH is breathlessness, with fatigue, dizziness and chest pain common too. The condition is thought to affect just 8,000 people in the UK.

Chris Morley, Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This commendation is richly deserved by Iain, and is a fantastic recognition of his work and his dedication to improving the quality of life for people with pulmonary hypertension.”

Iain co-founded the Pulmonary Hypertension Association 21 years ago to support those living with the life-limiting disease, and the charity now has over 4,500 members.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Media contact: Mary Ferguson on 07375 354687 or at media@phauk.org

About the awards

The RCN Nursing Awards aim to recognise excellence in nursing and healthcare, acknowledging the outstanding efforts, commitment and achievements made by the UK nursing community. This year saw 73 finalists shortlisted from 550 entries across 14 categories.

About Dr Iain Armstrong

Iain works as a nurse consultant within the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, one of just seven specialist treatment centres for adults with pulmonary hypertension in the UK.

He co-founded the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) in 1999 and has been chair of the charity ever since.

Iain has won several nursing accolades in recent years. He was named ‘Respiratory Nurse of the Year’ at the 2020 British Journal of Nursing (BJN) Awards, and in 2019 he was awarded a Fellowship from the Royal College of Nursing – in recognition of a professional career dedicated to supporting people affected by pulmonary hypertension.

About EmPHasis-10

The EmPHasis-10 questionnaire is used during clinical assessments to determine how pulmonary hypertension affects someone’s life. Developed by Dr Iain Armstrong and the PHA UK in association with the University of Manchester, the tool is now used all over the world.

About the PHA UK

The PHA UK is based in Chapeltown, Sheffield, and exists to support people diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH).

The organisation now has over 4,500 members and as well as providing information, support and advice, it funds medical research and health education initiatives to promote better awareness, diagnosis and treatment of PH.

It is a registered charity no: 1120756.

About pulmonary hypertension (PH)

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare, serious condition caused by the thickening and stiffening of the blood vessels supplying the lungs (pulmonary arteries).  The reduced blood flow makes it harder for the right side of the heart to pump blood through the arteries, which can result in heart failure.

The main symptom of PH is breathlessness. Other symptoms may include dizziness, feeling faint, swelling of the feet or ankles, and chest pain (particularly during exercise).

People can be born with PH or develop it at any time, and it can affect anyone, regardless of age or ethnic background. It affects more women than men.

Thanks to a range of highly advanced treatments developed over the last 15 years, people with pulmonary hypertension have seen quality of life improve and life expectancy double to around six to seven years on average, with many living longer. But there is no cure. A few people with PH undergo heart and lung transplants.

The seven adult specialist PH centres in the UK are within the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle; Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Glasgow; Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield; Papworth Hospital NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire; and Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and Royal Free Hospital in London.