Be a Lifesaver with Star appeal

TODAY we ask Evening Star readers to help give a unique gift this Christmas.

TODAY we ask Evening Star readers to help give a unique gift this Christmas.

We are launching an appeal to raise money for a cardiac ultrasound machine for Ipswich Hospital's accident and emergency department.

The cardiac ultrasound machine, which will help around 1,000 people every year, as it quickly helps doctors diagnose acute cardiac conditions, including heart failure.

It is going to cost £22,000 and we aim to reach that target by mid January next year with the Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006.

At a time when the hospital is facing critical financial pressures, it is unthinkable that the state-of-the-art scanner - which can do other ultrasound scans besides those for the heart - would be bought by the NHS but, together, we can make it happen.

David Lewis, a consultant specialising in emergency medicine, said: “It's a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine with cardiac ultrasound, helping emergency clinicians to diagnose acute cardiac conditions, including heart failure.

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“We currently rely on older technology such as x-rays. This advanced technology will allow us to develop the services we offer to patients, and may help prevent some admissions.

“It will make an enormous difference, particularly for the care of patients in the emergency unit and acute medical unit.

“Currently we can just about make do with a small machine, even though it doesn't do cardiac scans but in the new place we will need it very much.

“It will be even more important when we move into the new A&E department. We are getting a larger resuscitation area and are expecting more patients with acute medical illnesses, including cardiac problems. At the moment we've got a very small machine which cannot do heart scans and we are only scanning about 500 people a year with it.”

The hospital does own other ultrasound machines, but they are based in the radiology department.

Mr Lewis said: “To have one based in A&E would be such an advantage. At the moment there is not one there when patients come in to us and need a scan immediately. It's because we do have others that it's the sort of thing the NHS won't pay for. They expect people to wait for scans and so they aren't available at all hours.

“This new machine would be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in our resuscitation room, ready as and when people arrive.”

Star readers suggested many nominations for the appeal this year but the selection panel - Star editor Nigel Pickover, features editor Tracey Sparling, and Miriam Harrup representing the East of England Co-operative Society, chose the Emergency Department Cardiac Ultrasound machine.

They wanted a cause which would directly benefit people in Suffolk.

Mr Pickover said: “We are delighted to be supporting the hospital with the appeal this year.

“We are very aware of the financial strain the hospital is under and hope our readers will dig deep to help out.

“It's a machine which any of us could need the help of at any time.”



Have the accident and emergency team at Ipswich Hospital helped you? Write and tell us your stories. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail


If you would like to support the appeal, send cheques made out to Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006, to 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN.