FOR Sue Mynall, the hospital staff that had her back on her feet and two wheels truly are heroes.

The keen artist and cyclist will be nominating drug experts at Headington’s Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) for our Hospital Heroes awards Mrs Mynall, of Kennington, said the clinical trials unit helped her to regain her mobility after years of painful arthritis.

The 60-year-old has seen NOC specialists for drug treatment since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis aged 45.

She had even feared painful joints would force her to give up her beloved painting and cycling, but input from the clinical trials unit changed her life.

The Willow Way resident, married to Alan, 64, for 13 years, said of the team: “Without their care I don’t know what I would be doing now.

“They work together so well, I couldn’t pick one person out. They are very friendly and explain everything.”

The Oxford Mail has teamed up with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to say thank you to the wonderful staff in Oxfordshire’s hospitals.

Hospital Heroes is your chance to nominate health staff that have gone the extra mile.

Hard-working employees that give us so much care and support – be they frontline staff or support workers or volunteers – can be nominated in both an individual and team category.

With the help and support from the NOC unit, Mrs Mynall was able to take part in trials that helped her find a drug, Humira, that changed her life.

When first diagnosed with arthritis, an initial course of methotrexate worked for about six years, but three other drugs fared less well and her condition deteriorated.

But about a year ago Mrs Mynall – an assistant at Oxford’s Broad Canvas art supplies in Broad Street – was offered injections of adalimumab, trade name Humira, which removed her symptoms.

She said: “Once it started working I have been able to cycle and swim and everything. It has really helped.

“I feel the best I have for years. Before it was good but this is how I used to feel before everything started.”

Pains in her legs, knees and joints left her barely able to walk before she began taking the drug.

“I have continued to work but it has been so bad at different times that I have considered not working. I now work part time.

“I was very concerned at one stage that I wouldn’t be able to do more painting, it was beginning to affect my hands.”

Unit director Peter Taylor said: “What matters more to a patient may be a reduction in the pain or the fatigue they experience, or whether they can walk the dog.

“We want to know what matters most to the individual so we can work hard to provide holistic care that will really improve their all-round well-being.”

Anyone working at NOC, the city’s John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospital and Banbury’s Horton General can be nominated.

The closing date is Friday, September 5, with the shortlist announced later in October.

Winners will be revealed as part of the trust’s glittering annual staff awards in early December.

  • To nominate someone for their special help, go to


  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, causing fatigue, inflammation, stiffness and pain.
  • Women are three times as likely as men to have the disease.
  • Early signs are tiredness, a fever, stiff joints in the morning and numbness or tingling around your joints. Hands and feet are often the first area to be affected by RA.
  • As an autoimmune disease, RA is different to osteoarthritis, which is caused by age and the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. While osteoarthritis can be extremely painful, it is limited to the affected joints rather than the entire body.


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