A CHEQUE for more than half a million pounds has been presented to the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust by volunteers from the Lymington New Forest Hospital League of Friends.
Part of the friends fundraising for their scanner appeal, the £575,000 boost will help the trust pay for its new state-of-the-art CT scanner which was installed in July – the first of a number of planned improvements to the hospital’s imaging suite.
The campaign will continue to raise funds for two new ultrasound scanners as well as an MRI scanner.
The benefits of the new scanners will include reduced waiting times, the ability to offer patients scans closer to home, higher quality imagery, reduced scan times and less exposure to radiation.
Clinical director and respiratory consultant Rachel Anderson said: “We at the hospital are so grateful for the support of our many volunteers and the league of friends. The new CT scanner will allow us to scan patients more accurately, more effectively and with less risk.
“It is a brilliant and really clever machine, it will support the local people as well as the wider community and we could not be more delighted.”
The day took a sad turn, however, when the League of Friends, volunteers and hospital staff subsequently learned of the sudden passing of well-known local businessman Leon Crouch.
Mr Crouch had been involved with the hospital for more than 20 years and was chair of the board of trustees from May to late August, when he stood down due to personal reasons. The board said: “He would have been very proud to see the presentation and all the work done to achieve it.”
Harry Nash, treasurer and joint chair of the League of Friends, said: “Although the new CT scanner is the big shiny object, the reality is that the League of Friends has been around since the early ’50s raising nearly a total of £4m since its creation.
“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of what we do and we are always looking for more to join us.”
The friends maintain a continual presence within the hospital through their 120 volunteers who support the shop, Café, trolley services to patients on wards and acting as guides and befrienders.
Mike Hodges, joint chair, said: “The Lymington New Forest Hospital is our local community hospital which is readily accessible to the local population.
“For many people, this means that a lengthy trip to Southampton or Bournemouth (with transport, traffic and parking challenges) can be avoided, whether to attend for investigations, routine outpatients, blood tests, have minor injuries treatment or as an inpatient or visitor.
“The scanner is a vital part of upgrading the hospital’s equipment and will not only enhance our patient experience but will help to provide the medical staff with the state-of-the-art equipment they need to continue to give the highest standard of care to our patients.”
Those interested in joining the Lymington New Forest Hospital league of friends or supporting/sponsoring the cause should visit www.lymingtonhospitalfriends.org