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West Berkshire Community Hospital League of Friends donate £1m to day surgery ward

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Volunteer-led team helps ‘fill the gap’ in funding for medical supplies and equipment

More than £2.5m has been raised by volunteers to support West Berkshire Community Hospital since it opened in 2004. And £1m alone has now been donated to the day surgery unit.

Chairman of the League of Friends, Stuart Stephens, said the league aimed to help “fill the gaps” and provide funding for medical equipment for the wards and operating theatres.

Mr Stephens said: “We are marking a huge milestone in our support of the hospital and have just this week agreed to purchase £75,000 worth of surgical drills for the day surgery unit, taking our donations in total to over £1m to that department alone.

“Every time we are able to contribute or fund outright equipment, it means procedures and clinics can take place locally at Newbury.

“This has a major benefit to the patients who do not have to travel to Reading or other hospitals to receive treatment, freeing up ambulances and reducing car journeys at a time when we are all conscious of the environment.”

Since the hospital opened at its current site in 2004, the League of Friends has raised more than £2.5m to fund equipment such as scanners, surgical items, ultrasound machines, wheelchairs and even specialised beds.

Despite the lockdowns over the past 12 months, the League of Friends, which can trace its history back to 1939 at the site of the old Newbury hospital, has been keeping busy completely refurbishing the tea bar at the hospital.

It is now ready to reopen as soon as guidelines allow.

One of the nurses in charge of the day surgery unit said: “The community hospital has seen a massive increase in the types of surgery cases performed and these would not have been possible without the League of Friends’ help.

“We perform over 400 endoscopy procedures every month as well as the surgical patients using equipment bought by the league too, which we are extremely grateful for.”

Mr Stephens added: “All this work and effort has resulted in over £2,500,000 in donations to the hospital since it opened in 2004. Not bad from a team of unpaid volunteers with no office or indeed practically no overheads at all, allowing all the money raised to be ploughed back into our wonderful community hospital.

“We look forward to continuing our fundraising as we come out of lockdown and thank everyone who has donated or helped in any way.”

You can find out more about the League of Friends on its Facebook page or by emailing wbchlof@gmail.com

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