Hospital has eye on future

STATE-of-the-art eye care is now available at Beccles Hospital thanks to a �58,000 legacy left by a former patient.A new high-tech eye scanner has been purchased for the eye clinic, which will enable patients to be checked for the early signs of disease.

STATE-of-the-art eye care is now available at Beccles Hospital thanks to a �58,000 legacy left by a former patient.

A new high-tech eye scanner has been purchased for the eye clinic, which will enable patients to be checked for the early signs of disease.

While patients previously had to be referred to the James Paget University Hospital for such treatment, the new machine will save people from Beccles and the surrounding area trips back and forth to Gorleston.

The League of Friends at the hospital bought the equipment after money was left in the will of a patient from Stockton.


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Vera Read specified that the cash she had bequeathed to the Friends should be used in the area of ophthalmology.

'This scanner saves people having to go to the James Paget and it short circuits the whole process,' said Gordon Knights, chairman of the League of Friends. 'Beccles is in the middle of quite a large catchment area. We see this as a good opportunity to really do a good service here. We're pleased to be able to help.'

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The machine uses a state-of-the-art laser imaging system to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes. It gives a very high resolution image, particularly of the back of the eye.

It is especially useful in detecting Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). There have been recent breakthroughs in treatment for the condition, making the new scanner particularly timely.

'The machine is always used to diagnose AMD and it is used to monitor progress of that treatment,' said Tom Butler, one of two ophthalmology consultants who visit Beccles Hospital on Mondays and Tuesdays from the James Paget. 'There's often monthly treatment, and then the follow up and review. Obviously it's of great benefit to have it here. It's made a significant improvement on patient travel.'

The Friends have also bought equipment such as patient hoists, patient turners and slings. They also plan to buy a sophisticated bathing system for the redeveloped palliative care unit.

The eye clinic at Beccles Hospital opened in 2000, after former mayor Ken Cracknell appealed for the people of the town to help raise �35,000.

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