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Patients at West Suffolk Hospital will benefit from generous Friends’ grants

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The Friends of West Suffolk Hospital charity has announced that patients cared for by services across the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) will benefit from almost £90,000 in grants.

The overall total being donated includes grants ranging from under £100 to more than £20,000, agreed from applications made by Trust staff for items that will improve patient care. The money is raised through generous donations and legacies from the local community, and funds raised by volunteers in the hospital Friends’ shop.

Lizzie English (manager), flanked by staff member (left) Karen Spriggs and volunteer Carolyn Blackman in the Friends shop at the West Suffolk Hospital

The departments, clinics and services receiving grants include:

  • anaesthesia – portable ultrasound scan probes
  • CT scanning – a phlebotomy chair
  • emergency department – vital signs machine, to enable a more efficient triage of patients who could be seen by the same day emergency care unit
  • moving and handling services – Raizer chairs to assist staff in lifting patients who have had a fall
  • neonatal – electric reclining chairs
  • paediatrics – a children’s exercise therapy bicycle, and seating for a waiting area
  • speech and language therapy – expiratory muscle strength trainers, to assist with swallowing
  • surgical – an ophthalmic chair for the eye treatment centre, and a video-assisted surgical device for colorectal surgery
  • voluntary services – portering wheelchairs
  • wheelchair services – enabling the equipping of their new wheelchair rehabilitation workshop.

There were further grants of under £500 to a number of services, and the total amount donated was £89,249.00

Sarah Steele, treasurer of The Friends, said: “We are very pleased to have donated just under £90,000 in 2023 for projects around the Trust. These grants were made possible by donations and legacies made to The Friends, and by patients and staff supporting the service we offer through the Friends shop, online shop and trolley service. We thank each and every one of you. We would also like to thank My WiSH Charity which joined with us to part, or wholly, fund some of the requests.”

The Friends online shop offers a way for friends and family of in-patients at West Suffolk Hospital to send gifts to them, and it is also used by in-patients themselves. Access the online shop at

The chief executive of the WSFT, Dr Ewen Cameron, said: “On behalf of the Trust, I’d like to thank the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital for these generous donations, which will bring real benefits to so many of our patients. The continued support of The Friends, and the hardworking volunteers, is greatly valued, as are the donations and legacies from our community. It is good to know that so many of the items provided by these grants are already on their way to our services, contributing to the care provided by our staff.”

The moving and handling team at the WSFT has received a grant which will enable the purchase of six Raizer chairs, at a cost of £24,000. Neil Herbert, head of moving and handling, said: “The Raizer 2 chair is a safe and dignified way of retrieving a patient from the floor after a fall. The chair is assembled around the fallen patient and is quick and simple to use. The chair will decrease the time a patient spends on the floor, improving quality care throughout the organisation. The six new chairs will be stationed around the West Suffolk Hospital and Rosemary Ward at Newmarket Community Hospital.”

The anaesthesia department at the Trust received a grant of £14,200 for three portable ultrasound scan probes. Consultant anaesthetist Chamika Abayasinghe said: “The probes donated by Friends of West Suffolk will be used in multiple locations including the labour suite, theatres and wards. These will help with difficult intravenous access and performing nerve blocks to provide anaesthesia and pain relief. One of its top uses is to scan the backs of pregnant mothers before performing spinal and epidural blocks for caesarean sections and labour pain relief. These probes will be invaluable tools to enhance safe patient care.”


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