A state of the art X-ray machine was unveiled at Uckfield Community Hospital on Friday.
The £184,000 machine was bought by the hospital’s League of Friends while the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust funded alterations to the building to accommodate it.
Peter Horn, chairman of the trust, said public funds didn’t always go as far as they would like them to and help from the league of friends made a big difference to the care of patients.
He said the NHS belonged to the community and the ability of the NHS to bring people together was more important now than ever before.
He added: “We seem to be focussing on lots of things that divide us. One thing we can all agree on is that a strong, vibrant, NHS is of great benefit to our communities. If you think about it, the NHS touches everyone in our lives, from all ages and from all walks of life.”
Chris Macve, chairman of the League of Friends, reiterated Peter’s comments adding special thanks to all those who supported the league with gifts, donations, fund-raising activities and, most importantly, legacies.
Massive amount of money
Mr Macve said: “In this regard I must mention Jack and Betty Robertshaw who have helped us to fund this state of art piece of equipment. It cost £184,000, a massive amount of money.”
Without the gifts, donations, support of fund-raising activities, and legacies, he said, the league wouldn’t be able to support the hospital in the way it did.
“So many things have been bought over the years to make the hospital the wonderful place it is.”
Mr Macve said Uckfield had a long and proud history of benefactors improving the wellbeing of residents.
This went back to the 1800s when the Streatfeilds donated buildings for the original town hospital.
The current hospital was built thanks to Arthur Hughes who started the ball rolling by donating land and £1 million towards the costs.
A further £1 million was raised within the community and that, together with money from the NHS gained through the sale of the original site, enabled the new hospital to be built.
The 25th anniversary of the hospital was celebrated this year. Chris said it had been enhanced over the years and was constantly evolving thanks to the generosity of people.
League of Friends trustee and radiographer Linda Kenward welcomed guests to the opening ceremony and Uckfield Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew cut a ribbon before the X-ray machine was revealed.
Linda said that when she joined the X-ray department 20 years ago it was only open three days a week. Now it is open seven days a week.
There used to be a dark room with chemical processing of X-rays, then automatic processors were introduced, then computers, and now the digital systems with instant images which could be immediately relayed to consultants or minor injuries department. The new machine could also, at the touch of the button, position itself over the patient.
Linda also talked about another dental X-ray machine funded by the League of Friends which enabled a sweeping picture to be taken all around the mouth, producing a highly detailed ‘big smile’ image, producing information that was invaluable to dental clinics, outpatients, and operating theatres.
Linda was presented with a bouquet and thanked, along with her team of helpers, for organising the opening ceremony.
And there were thanks too to Ian Higgins, who was asked to supply crockery and cutlery for the occasion, and donated the use of the equipment free of charge as soon as he realised it was for the League of Friends.
Senior radiographers Clare Blount and Jenny Thorpe – who has worked for the NHS for 51 years – then demonstrated the manoeuvrability of the machine and showed the clarity of images it produced.