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 projects

We owe an enormous debt to the people and companies in our community. Thanks to your support the charity has been able to purchase many pieces of equipment to enhance the care provided by the clinical and medical staff throughout the Trust.

With your help we have managed to purchase the following

  • Rheumatology Ultrasound Scanner
  • Pulmonary Function Testing machine for the Respiratory department
  • Robbie The Robot
  • BioVision Faxitron
  • Fertility Department Scanner
  • Syringe Drivers
  • Ultrasound Scanner Paediatric Department
  • Heart Blood Pressure Monitor
  • Children’s Clinic Improvements
  • Critical Care Patient Transfer Trolley
  • Wheelchairs

Rheumatology Ultrasound Scanner 

The Rheumatology Department at the Royal Berks in Reading raised £75,000 to purchase a state of art ultrasound scanning machine to enhance care provided to patients with arthritis.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MU) is a very valuable tool for rheumatology doctors and patients. The ultrasound machine is the extension of the doctor’s stethoscope in treating arthritis. They can assess how active the disease is by looking inside the joints with the ultrasound probe in clinic. Assessment of joints and tendons by ultrasound allows them to differentiate between inflammation and mechanical problems, the treatments of which are different. They can also use it to guide injections into joints and around tendons to ensure maximum response and benefit.

Use of MU in the rheumatology clinic helps the doctor diagnose patients presenting with early inflammatory arthritis on the day of the examination. As a result an early treatment plan can be put in place which can be monitored to ensure that the drugs are doing what they should: reducing inflammation and preventing damage, leading to better outcomes for patients. Ultrasound is painless and does not involve any radiation. It is very safe for the patient and can be repeated in clinic assisting follow up on the condition. Patient experience is enhanced as they are able to look at the scans of their joints with the doctor gaining more of an understanding about their condition.

Thanks to the support from a major donor the scanner was purchased and installed at the Royal Berks in January 2016.


Pulmonary Function Testing machine for Respiratory department

£30,000 purchased a second much needed Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) machine for use in the Respiratory department. This equipment tests a patient’s lung capacity and is frequently done before anyone undergoes an operation that needs general anaesthetic. The service is particularly important for people with cancer who may be undergoing chemotherapy. On a daily basis the department test people referred from GPs, the Berkshire Cancer Centre, Cardiology, Rheumatology, Renal, Haematology and the Pre-Op Clinics – often at short notice. And they do all this while testing and caring for patients with existing respiratory problems.

In 2013, a team from the department swam the equivalent of the English Channel (1,416 lengths) at Reading Swimming Pool as part of a sponsored swim. Bravo!

Huge thanks to Geoffrey Evans (78 years old) for his individual support in raising over £3,800.


‘Robbie’ The Robot

‘Robbie’ a da Vinci medical robot was purchased outright in 2013 and from the moment the agreement was signed to acquire ‘Robbie’ Consultant Adam Jones and the staff from the Urology Department worked tirelessly to raise funds. For over three years they supported many fundraising events, held Christmas and Summer Balls, and gave group tours of the Robot in situ in the hospital out of working hours. We could not have achieved this without the support from the community and the team in Urology. Thank you.

The Royal Berks was the first hospital in the Thames Valley to perform curative surgery for prostate surgery and is the regional centre for brachytherapy (insertion of radioactive seeds) and penile cancer treatments. Initially the robotic programme focussed on prostate removal for prostate cancer. Now we are using ‘Robbie’ for all sorts of complex urology operations including radical cystectomy, partial nephrectomy and pyeloplasty. We are one of only very few UK departments that offers such a range. To all of these operations, robotic surgery brings the advantages of greater accuracy, less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery.

To keep up with the changes in technology and medical breakthroughs we will require additional equipment to continue making progress with this program, and at some point in the future will need to replace ‘Robbie’ as demand increases. Your support will help the continued advancement of robotic surgery, allowing the medical teams to enhance treatment for both men and women.

If you would like to help support this fund

Click here to donate


BioVision Faxitron

Another example of the difference people’s support of the charity is making to health care concerns is the Breast Clinic’s Faxitron – it is a story everyone can be proud of. £70,000 bought a Surgical Specimen Radiography System (BioVision) manufactured by Faxitron for the breast surgeons. A BioVision is a type of x-ray machine that sits in the operating theatre, and is designed to be used by a surgeon operating on patients with breast cancer. The BioVision helps surgeons check biopsies, to see whether the edges of the tissue sample are clear of cancer. This reduces the time spent waiting for the biopsy to be analysed in the x-ray department (45 minutes) to in-theatre testing taking no more than one minute. This is a significant step forward in terms of reducing the need for patients to return for further surgery, help alleviate stress levels and reduce the time spent under general anaesthetic.

From the outset our aim was to make sure as much as we possibly could, that we would only need to operate on any patient once, to reduce the likelihood of having to come back for further surgery. This is exactly the sort of project the charity seeks to support, and thanks to an excess of £75,000 given by people and organisations throughout our community, the Faxitron was acquired and installed in March 2014.

Has it worked as well as we anticipated? The net result of this acquisition is that the number of women requiring a second follow-up operation has fallen by 50%! This represents significant savings on theatre time but most important of all it means less anxiety and stress for patients.


Fertility Department Scanner

£30,000 purchased a portable scanner for the Fertility department. The latest portable ultrasound equipment can do everything a full-sized scanner can do, but is the size of a laptop computer. Ultrasound scans are an essential part of the service. They are used at any stage, from diagnosing early problems all the way through pregnancy itself. Prior to the purchase of the portable unit all ultrasound scans were carried out in the Maternity Unit. Following the successful conclusion of this campaign we have succeeded in creating a more supportive, helpful and stress-free environment allowing patients to be seen in the privacy of the department or in one of the Community Clinics and be scanned by dedicated Fertility specialists.


Syringe Drivers

Many of the donations made to the charity are earmarked for specific wards and departments but we also receive what are known as ‘general’ donations where the donor doesn’t stipulate where or how it is to be used in the hospital. These ‘general’ gifts allow us the freedom to support departments that might not attract donations in their own right, and also to back ideas where there is strong likelihood that support from the charity will transform patient care and make a real difference.

Our support, with your donations, of the Palliative Care Team is a tremendous example of how we use the General Fund. In 2015, the Palliative Care Team came to see us because they had £1,200 in their charity fund and wanted to use the money to buy a syringe driver – these pieces of equipment are taken home by patients and deliver a constant stream of medication over a set duration, thereby avoiding peaks and troughs in treatment of pain relief.

They also help patients by removing the need for regular injections, which can be painful, and delayed, if community staff are busy. The reliance on frequent district nursing visits is therefore reduced and so saves time and resource in the wider health economy. Each syringe driver costs £1,200 and during the course of our conversation with Palliative Care, it was evident that more machines would mean more patients could be helped, so we have used money from the General Fund to buy 18 syringe drivers which are now in constant use throughout the community.


Ultrasound Scanner Paediatric Department

£70,000 bought a new portable state of art ultrasound scanner for the Paediatric Department. The new machine will help enhance cardiac care for children with congenital heart disease close to their home without the need to have to travel to Oxford or Southampton. It will also facilitate prompt diagnosis, improving the outcomes for children with heart conditions. This machine has multifunctional capabilities that also help us to obtain high quality head ultrasounds for our pre-term and term babies in Buscot. Another advantage is the ability to perform abdominal ultrasounds at the side of their bed on babies who are too ill to be moved to the radiology department.


Heart Blood Pressure Monitor

We receive many donations from individuals who wish to remain anonymous. In recent months through the support of 2 individuals and their families, the Charity has purchased a Heart Blood Pressure Monitor costing £2,600, and a Bladder Scanner, at a cost of £7,500. The staff in the wards where the equipment is now in daily use are hugely grateful for the support given by all concerned.


Children’s Clinic no longer dull and grey

Jess Higson, the Sister in charge of the Children’s Clinic, took part in last year’s Walk For Wards to raise funds towards a makeover for the department. With the money Jess and her team raised, through support from the community and White Stuff in Reading, we were able to make the necessary transformations and as further funds were raised, Phase 2 saw the much needed installation of air conditioning and decorative floor tiles in the children’s conservatory.


Critical Care Patient Transfer Trolley

The hospital currently undertakes 85 patient transfers to other hospitals per month, and while some of these patients may be reasonably stable, others will be less so and at significant risk. A standard transfer trolley does the job but for critically ill patients a specialist trolley, with life saving equipment attached to it, can make a significant difference to their journey from one hospital to another.

Your donations helped us purchase a Critical Care Patient Transfer Trolley at a cost of £58,000 for the hospital, to enhance the service provided by the trust. This trolley has the necessary life-saving and monitoring equipment – Defibrillator, Ventilator, Infusion and Injectomat pumps, suction unit, various monitors – securely attached to maintain care of a critically ill patient while away from the hospital environment. In addition a children’s harness and Baby Pod are also supplied making this piece of equipment a highly versatile unit.


Wheelchairs

Through the General Fund, the Charity bought 30 new, and much needed wheelchairs. Costing £28,000 they are already a great success with both the Portering staff and visitors as they have hinged ‘easy access’ arm rests and an adjustable foot plate. The General Fund can be used to buy equipment for any ward or department in the hospital for the benefit of all patients, visitors and staff.


A Thank you letter from Pain Management Unit

 “Dear (name of donor withheld),

Thank you so much for the recent generous donation to the Royal Berkshire Pain Management Unit. Your willingness to help will make a big difference to the lives of a lot of patients suffering with persistent pain attending the Pain Management Unit.

Your donation has helped purchase an Ultrasound Machine and an ECG machine for the unit. This will increase the number of patients that we can help in Reading and Berkshire West.

Your contribution will make all the difference in how we provide care to patients with persistent pain. There are presently 14 million people suffering with persistent pain in the UK and our mission at the Pain Management Unit is to improve the quality of life and the access to quicker and effective pain relief services for such patients in our area. We at the Pain Unit, and those patients we serve, are deeply appreciative of your generosity in helping us in our endeavour.”
Deepak Ravindran, Clinical Lead for Pain Medicine, Consultant Pain and Musculoskeletal Medicine