Bexhill Hospital to get more than half-a million pounds of new equipment

The League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital is buying more than half a million pounds worth of sight-saving equipment for the hospital.

The decision was made at a meeting which saw the charity invest a total of £558,000 for the benefit of local patients.

Ten years ago East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust wanted to convert redundant x-ray plate storage space into a unit specializing in the treatment of wet macular degeneration, the largest cause of sight loss in the Western world.

Under that project, the Trust covered the cost of building conversion and the League funded the necessary equipment, so creating the hospital’s Dowling Unit. But demand for the eye swiftly overtook the available space.

Now, by creating the new Community Diagnostic Hub in Beeching Road and transferring services such as radiography there the Trust has created space in the hospital for the enlargement of ophthalmic services.

In a presentation to the League’s General Committee, the Trust’s Bexhill Ophthalmic Unit Matron Lesley Carter, explained how the unit was being transformed into the Dowling Retinal Suite, more than double in size and capable of helping 100 patients a day from across the Trust area with a range of eye problems including diabetes.

She said the equipment she was seeking from the League would ensure that local eye patients had the best possible care. The equipment is costing a total of £502,286.

In response to a second Trust Bid (request), the meeting also approved the £42,960 purchase of an OptoMize Medisoft connector – a software tool for communicating ophthalmology screening and treatment between the diabetic eye screening programme and the hospital’s eye screening department.

The Bexhill League is also pledging £100,000 to kick-start a major appeal fund to be launched soon to improve another service for local patients.

The Bexhill League’s meeting also approved a request for £12,591.33 for seven Medisave examination couches for Little Common GP practice and a £177.45 request from Bexhill Primary Care Network for blood pressure measuring equipment and medical kit bags for use in clinics and on home visits.

Bexhill Hospital was opened on may 13 1933 by Princess Helena Victoria, a cousin on King George V. In seven of the most depressed years of the 20th century, Bexhill people raised enough money to open a fully equipped cottage hospital, completely free of debt at a construction cost of £34,000.

The League of Friends has been active in supporting the hospital over many decades. In 2019 Princess Anne visited to open a £5 million scanner suite at the hospital. A scanner, costing £670,000 was funded by the League of Friends.

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