Thousands to be spent on hospital equipment
A LARGE model eyeball gracing the top table captured the attention of committee members of the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital, writes John Dowling.
The model had been brought to last Thursday's meeting by Lesley Carter, specialist clinical leader in ophthalmology, to illustrate the need for equipment costing 22,280.
The Carl Zeiss IOL Master 500 measures the axial length of the eyeball and curvature of the cornea to determine the strength of the lens implant needed in cataract surgery.
Many of the 40 cataract sufferers treated every week at the Conquest Hospital come from Bexhill. The meeting agreed to buy the equipment after hearing demand for cataract surgery is such that four Saturday sessions have been held to treat another 80 patients.
The equipment will enable the department to develop ophthalmic preassessment at the moment the patient is put on the waiting list, ensuring they do not have to return to hospital for another visit.
The meeting also heard from Lorraine Neeson, clinical leader in urology, how bladder stones could be crushed in just five to 10 minutes if the Conquest department had its own EMS Lithoclast 2 and bladder scope. The league will buy the 15,685 equipment.
The two items were part of a package of gifts totalling 90,202 agreed at the meeting and the league will also buy a 3,620 Welych-Allyn Vital Signs Monitor plus a 37,500 ultrasound machine.
Chairman Stuart Earl reported on a meeting earlier in the day with Irvine Unit manager Pauline Butterworth and representatives of specialist television suppliers Air Wave.
The league had previously agreed in principle to supply televisions for every Irvine Unit bed.
Supply and installation will cost around 61,000 and use of the televisions will be free to patients, who can purchase headphones for private listening at a cost of 3.95.
All Freeview channels will be available plus an information channel to keep patients in touch with activities in the unit.
The league will seek a local supplier for a large television for communal use in the unit's atrium area.
The meeting agreed to replace ageing furnishings in the Irvine Unit's atrium and reception areas at a cost of 11,117. It will buy sunshades and garden furniture costing 3,500 for the Millennium Garden it created for the unit.
But members concerned at the previous lack of maintenance in the garden need an assurance from Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust this would improve before considering a request for plants.
Garden maintenance around the unit is the subject of a service level agreement between the PCT and East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust which has not previously been invoked by the PCT.
League members visiting the Millennium area during the league's recent hospital garden party were so shocked by its condition the charity's general committee is considering whether it would be possible to recruit a team of volunteers to help care for the area.
Treasurer Robin Barnett said since the May meeting the league had received 890 in memory of people who had died, including 310 in memory of former Mayoress and league supporter Sylvia Butchers, 385 in memory of Clifford Waters and 175 in memory of John Elliott.
Donations had included the 6,100 raised by Cllr Bridget George's mayoral appeal and 15,000 from the winding up of Bexhill Friends of the Elderly. And the treasurer had attended the annual graduation ceremony at the United Arab Emirates' Technical Training Establishment and received a 3,500 cheque for the league.
One legacy of 10,000 was in the pipeline and he had been notified that morning the league could expect about 150,000 from another.
The treasurer gained approval to transfer 1m which was now earning only 0.5% with the Charities Official Investment Fund to Lloyds Bank, where he had negotiated a rate of 2.15%.
The move would produce interest of 21,500, an increase on 16,500. It was agreed a further 1m would remain invested with COIF, from where it would be instantly available.
The chairman also reported that the Bexhill Lodge of Freemasons had donated 150.