Sunflower Suite at Queen's Hospital chosen for this year's Christine Willett Trust donation

Christine Willett Trust donation

Queen's Hospital staff Helen Caxton and Keisha Osmond-Joseph presenting the Accuvein led vein finders to Ward Clerk Tracy Backman (pictured in the middle). - Credit: King George and Queen's Hospitals Charity

A generous donation from the Christine Willett Trust has funded £20,000 worth of equipment to treat cancer patients at the Queen's Hospital Sunflower Suite.

The Romford hospital was chosen this year by Upminster resident Colin Willett, who created the trust in 1993 after his wife Christine lost her battle with breast cancer.

Each year the trust offers to fund the purchase of equipment at one of six hospitals it supports, with BHRUT's Queen's the beneficiary this time around.

Stuart McCaighy, the hospital's speciality manager for haematology and oncology, was asked to suggest service-enhancing equipment for cancer patients that currently falls outside NHS funding.

His team requested two vein finders and an Electron Density Phantom, which were then purchased by the trust.

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The vein finders are a visualisation technology which allows for the correct vein to be identified instantly. This saves pain for patients, and time for staff. 

The Electron Density Phantom will assist in the delivery of radiotherapy by helping to ensure a CT scanner is providing an accurate picture of the body. This will now be delivered in early March, owing to the complexity of the equipment. 

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While Colin ordinarily presents the annual donation in person, coronavirus has rendered that impossible this year.

Though disappointing, this has not tempered excitement surrounding the donation, which has come at a crucial time for both the hospital and its associated charity.

The head of fundraising at the King George and Queen's Hospitals Charity, Lynda Head, welcomed the timely boost: "It’s not every day that someone rings our charity to offer a donation of £20,000.  We are truly delighted to have been chosen to receive the Christine Willett Trust donation, especially during such difficult time for the NHS. It couldn’t come at a more special time."

With the NHS stretched to its limit due to Covid-19, the pandemic has also "badly affected" the charity, affecting its ability to fund such purchases.

This, for Lynda, makes Colin's gesture all the more significant: "This donation has turned three wish list items into reality.”

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