Paul Presents- The Royal Berks NHS Charity With Martin Butler
Martin Butler is the Fund raising Manager from the Royal Berks NHS Foundation Trust and he discusses the history of the charity and the hospital with Paul. Over the years, money has been raised to buy facilities for patients and visitors by fundraising events.
They would like to thank the local communities for your outpouring of kindness, and offers of support for our remarkable staff. Your thoughtfulness means so much to the teams working tirelessly to care for our patients. Knowing you are thinking of them during this incredibly challenging time really does boost morale.
While many of us are able to follow safety measures and stay home to minimise our risk of catching or transmitting the virus, our staff at the Royal Berkshire continue to work every day to ensure our patients receive the care they need.
To help those wishing to donate goods or gifts stay safe at home, the Charity has set up an Amazon Wish List. This will assist in reducing the number of physical donations to the Charity enabling us to play our part in safeguarding our staff, patients, supporters and the wider community.
Currently, a Royal Berks Charity appeal has been launched to assist the Lion and Dolphin Wards at the Royal Berkshire Hospital who need £44,000 to provide recliners for parents of their patients, and support planned refurbishment works to their play room.
Your continued support
The Charity is doing all it can to provide support, and continues to work closely with staff to find the best way that we can do this. The pandemic has posed a number of challenges for us. The months of restrictions has meant that many of the activities and events we and our supporters participate in have been cancelled, impacting significantly on our ability to raise vital funds. We are working hard to find new ways of fundraising, but if you are able, please consider giving your ongoing support. This will enable us to respond to our hospital’s needs, plan for the future and provide assistance for patients and staff at the Royal Berkshire during this period of uncertainty and beyond. This is how your support has helped us recently:-
- Over £23,000 raised for our emergency Covid appeal on Just Giving
- Staff well being packages
- £100,828 to purchase a portable Urology ultrasound machine
- 30 new wheelchairs for our patients
- Raised £40,000 from the ‘Cash4Coins’ campaign
Previous Fundraising Projects
With your help we have managed to purchase the following
Faxitron Breast Screening Appeal
The Breast Screening Unit ran a Campaign to raise £47,000 for a Faxitron – a small piece of equipment to be located in the biopsy room and is designed to be operated by Radiologists and Radiographers. It uses X-rays to image specimens of breast calcifications. Breast calcifications are mostly benign (non cancerous), however sometimes they can be an early sign of breast cancer.
The Faxitron will enhance the image quality of calcium in breast tissue, and improve diagnostic accuracy of biopsies, allowing us to give the best possible treatment. The new machine will also help to reduce the time it takes to get an appointment and, as a result, improve waiting times. Patient experience will be improved by helping reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, adopting new technology will ensure that the Breast Screening Unit remains at the cutting edge of technology.
The support we received for this campaign will significantly improve the service provided by the clinic, and the team in Breast Screening are extremely grateful to everyone who helped us achieve our goal.
Our Cash4Coins campaign goes from strength to strength and has now reached a whopping £36,000 in donations which goes towards enhancing care throughout the Trust. It is one of our favourite activities to empty the collection box each week of 4-5 kilos in coins and notes and to see it converted into ‘real’ money is a joy. Due to the success of the campaign we plan to raise funds indefinitely.
Many people have foreign coins or notes left over from a trip abroad and usually, they end up in a drawer or in a jar in a cupboard. We are able to turn the donations into “real” money – whether they be Euros, Yen, predecimal coins, or other long since departed currencies such as the franc, mark and peseta. If you have any foreign currency/old British coins or medals you would like to donate please contact the Charity office on 0118 322 6969 or if you are coming to the hospital we have a collection box at Main Reception on Craven Road where you can deposit your coins.
All donations, no matter how small, are welcomed! Perhaps you have some left over from a trip abroad?
A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed, no matter how big or small, with a special acknowledgement to Barclays bank who donated a huge 49 kilos of foreign currency.
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.
‘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
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.
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.
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.
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.