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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Carlisle hospital heart unit staff launch campaign for funds

Staff at Carlisle’s new hi-tech Heart Centre have launched a fundraising drive less than a year after opening.

But they stress that the campaign is not because NHS funding has dried up.

Instead, the money raised will be used to further enhance the service, allowing them to purchase additional equipment.

The long-awaited Heart Centre – part of Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary – opened last November. It means many patients who previously had to travel to Middlesbrough, Newcastle or Blackpool can now be treated in Cumbria.

The surgery they undergo is called angioplasty – a complex operation to unblock the artery and fit a ‘stent’ to keep it open. It can be used in an emergency to save lives.

The centre was funded by the NHS after local doctors and consultants argued that Cumbrian patients needed such a facility nearby.

The centre is housed in a temporary extension at the front of the hospital, though it is eventually planned to move it into a more permanent base.

However in the meantime, staff have launched a fundraising campaign to buy additional equipment, fund extra staff training and improve the environment for patients and relatives.

Senior nurse Samantha Sugden is writing to local businesses and organisations to publicise their first major fundraiser – a Summer Charity Ball at Carlisle’s Shepherd’s Inn next month.

She says: “In the current economic climate the National Health Service is challenged to provide resources and training for staff and patient benefit.

“Therefore as a new, innovative team we have taken it upon ourselves to raise funds to ensure our service is of the highest standard and remains up to date with all findings in cardiac medicine. We want to ensure that our area is at the forefront of providing cardiac interventional treatment and that we no longer offer a sub-optimal service to the people of Cumbria and south west Scotland.”

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said the money would be used as the “icing on the cake” to the department, providing a service above and beyond what is already funded by the NHS.

She added that it will potentially mean it can obtain new equipment earlier than if it had to wait for the health service to fund upgrades.

n The summer ball is on Saturday, July 21 at 7.30pm. There will be a hot buffet, disco and raffle. Tickets cost £22.50 and are available from the Heart Centre or by phoning 01228 814377.

PMcGowan@cngroup.co.uk

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