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Bristol consultant joins ICU colleagues across the UK in the race for Christmas Number One

Last updated: 18/12/2020

A 100 strong Zoom choir made up of intensive care unit (ICU) staff from across the UK is releasing a re-make of classic Police track ‘Every Breath You Take’, in a bid to secure the Christmas number one spot and raise funds to support NHS staff.

Known as the ICU Liberty Singers, the choir began life as an attempt to bring some fun and respite to ICU workers after an incredibly tough year. Choir members include ICU staff such as nurses, doctors and allied health professionals who have been working on the frontline of healthcare. 

Working on the basis that music and singing are relaxing for the mind, choir director Kari Olsen Porthouse contacted Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, Dr Alison Pittard, and offered to run a pop up choir – with four singing sessions and a remote recording of one of the songs.

Matt Thomas, consultant at the intensive care unit at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, is part of the ICU Liberty Singers and said:

“It was the first time I have done anything like this, it was tremendous fun and a great way to relieve stress.

“It turns out some of my colleagues are quite good and our conductor has turned it into a single due to be released on 18th December, aimed at raising money for an ICU wellbeing charity.

“If something that started as a way for our team across the UK to unwind and improve wellbeing can go on to raise money to help others, then that would be fantastic.

“This has been a terrible year in many ways, but as a country we have pulled together.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to work with such an incredible team in ICU this year and the choir is an incredible experience on top of that.”

Jackie Shears, from NHS Digital, and a member of one of Kari Olsen Porthouse’s other choirs, heard about the choir and promptly penned a carefully re-worded version of the Police hit ‘Every Breath You Take’ to express the extraordinary contribution of ICU workers across the country this year – and to encourage the public to continue taking recommended precautions to help prevent more demand on ICUs.   

Jackie said “I really wanted to recognise that while we are all frustrated by the restrictions, ICU staff have had minimal respite since March, have continued to provide high levels of care and professionalism, identifying treatments and working out how best to care for incredibly unwell people. 

“The second wave comes at the end of an unprecedented year, without let up – so the song includes a plea on their behalf not to let levels rise further and create any more demand than is necessary”.

You can find out where to buy the single from this link: https://orcd.co/lwnv105