Friends Open Evening 19th June - everyone welcome

We had a very busy Friends Open Evening on 19 June.

A packed house joined the trustees, volunteers, hospital staff and managers for our second annual Open Evening.

Thank you to all who took part … we had a great evening.

We started with talks from the trustees and hospital managers, followed by a lively Q&A session, which raised many interesting topics and feedback on existing and possible future services. People could then choose to meet staff demonstrating some of the equipment provided by the Friends and tour the Radiology and Endoscopy departments. There was also time to catch up with trustees and volunteers to find out how to help the Friends. Refreshments were on hand during the evening.


Arthur England, Trustee and Joint Chair of the Friends, introduced the evening and explained that, thanks to generous local donations, fundraising, gifts and legacies, the Friends have been able to support projects valued over £1m in the last five years. This includes major new Radiology equipment, stroke aids, mobile scanners for community nurses and much more. We also recently designed and updated the hospital’s internal signage to help people find their way around. Continued local fundraising is vital to continue to support the hospital above the funds available from the NHS alone.

Arthur thanked all our wonderful volunteers, those who helped out on the night and those who run our shop, help in the office and with projects, plus our ward friends who visit patients on the wards. We found a new couple during the evening who are keen to bring in their Labrador as a new PAT dog volunteer … a great result!

Mike Hodges, Trustee and fellow Joint Chair, talked about other major projects supported by the Friends to improve efficiency and patient care. This includes three new Colonoscopes for the Endoscopy Service which have doubled capacity and improved patient comfort. New eye diagnostic kit for the Urgent Treatment Centre that assesses over 600 patients annually at Lymington,  avoiding the need to travel to Southampton. New pressure mapping equipment for Lymington based community nurses has recently been provided (see photo and information below) to improve patient care and speed recovery.

Mike explained that we also support wellbeing needs for patients and staff, we have recently developed a new Wellbeing Nature Trail and are installing an Outdoor Building for staff  patient therapy and staff wellbeing, both thanks to a magnificent donation from the Leon Crouch Foundation. We are also working on a Sensory Garden, with Southern Health’s charity Brighterway, to complement the Therapy Garden on the stroke ward.

Find out more about how you can help us support the hospital.


Urgent Treatment Centre (Partnering Health Group)

Ross Brand (CEO of Partnering Health Group) outlined the growth in patients using Lymington’s UTC, originally targeted at some 17,000 patients per year, the number has risen to 34,000 last year, of which 25% were under 19 years old. The UTC was originally 60% injuries to 40% illness, this has now moved to 60% illness and 40% injuries – the rise in illness referrals is in part due to difficulties making GP appointments. Ross thanked the Friends for providing the eye care kit (noted by Mike above) and new blood pressure and RESUS monitors that provide additional clinical tools to improve the care given to increasing patient numbers.

Main Hospital Services – Southern Health

Wendy Rees (Operations Director Southern Health) talked about Lymington’s designation as a Community Diagnostic Centre and reflected on the amazing donations of equipment from the Friends to improve Radiology and Endoscopy services. She described how patients benefit from a fast local diagnosis and early referral into treatment pathways. Wendy also noted the valuable support the Friends provide for the community nursing teams and for patient and staff wellbeing, including the new Physio Gym.

Clinics, Blood tests and Procedures – University Hospital Southampton

Greg Chapple (Divisional Director of Operations, University Hospital Southampton) shared information about the 27,000 consultant appointments and range of minor operating procedures carried out by UHS staff at Lymington, in addition to the blood testing service. He noted how they are planning to expand the range of services delivered locally in Lymington by specialist UHS teams, working closely with Southern Health and PHL teams. Dr Alice Arnold, Anaesthetic Consultant (middle) is setting up a service for those with anaemia and a service to ensure patients can be fit prior to surgery. Miss Sophie Pilkington, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon works in endoscopy, has outpatient and surgical lists at Lymington. She is developing pelvic floor services for patients locally.


Pressure Monitor … are you sitting comfortably?

Caryn Carr (Lead Tissue Viability Nurse, Southern Health) and her colleague Matt Payne demonstrated how new Pressure Monitoring equipment – recently purchased by the Friends – can be used by community nurses to help patients to manage and prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. The monitor displays high pressure spots and helps the nursing team to advise patients how to avoid problems developing.

Urgent Treatment Centre

Simon Corral (Lead Clinician UTC) demonstrated the Slit Lamp used for eye injury or illness assessment, this avoids many patients needing to attend Southampton Hospital for an eye examination in many cases. Also on display, was a multi-function RESUS monitor used to continually monitor patients with serious heart and other conditions. Both of these pieces of equipment were donated by the Friends. As the lead clinician, Simon sees many of the patients attending the busy UTC.


Sophia Watts and her colleague Jessica Hayward are part of the large Radiology team, providing scans and X-rays to patients at the heart of Lymington’s Community Diagnostic Centre. They were demonstrating a new mobile X-ray machine that can be used for patients who are not able to get to the main Radiology Department, this equipment can be taken to patients anywhere in the hospital.

Stroke Activities

Hayley Mann and Holly Downer (occupational therapist and physiotherapist) from the Stroke Team on Deerleap Ward, demonstrated a range of physical activity and mobility aids purchased by the Friends to help stroke patients with rehabilitation and motor skills. The ‘GripAble’ (see photo below) enables the patient to exercise their grip and hand positions, perform different wrist movements, measure muscle strength and aid rehabilitation. An activity board helps practise everyday tasks, such as handling locks, catches and plugs. Sensory and awareness puzzles to help stimulate memories and spark conversation for dementia patients.

Dementia Research

Suzanne Dodge (Manager) and Claire Firth (Study Co-ordinator) from the Memory Assessment & Research Centre (MARC) showed information and explained the research being carried out in MARC’s Southampton clinical centre to better understand dementia and new treatments that are available. The MARC team, led by Dr Brady McFarlane, have been researching new treatments for people with memory problems since 1989 and carry out pharmaceutical trials, observational studies and science projects to improve the diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders.

Radiology and Endoscopy

Karen Kritter (Head of Radiology) and Chris Roseveare (Clinical Lead for the Acute Medicine and Endoscopy) provided tours of Radiology and Endoscopy – the main parts of Lymington’s Community Diagnostic Centre.

Friends Open Evening 19th June - everyone welcome