LETTER: Much to celebrate

The Friends of the Eastbourne Hospital in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Eastbourne held their 6th ball – the “Celebrate the Future Ball” - at the Winter Garden on Saturday 21st March. The ball celebrated the arrival of the Da Vinci surgical robot at the DGH enabling major prostatic cancer surgery to be carried out by key-hole surgery with greater precision, accuracy, less tissue damage, less blood loss, and a speedier more comfortable recover, with patients discharged home the following day. The lease-purchase of the robot, the only one in Sussex – at £1million – is a major challenge for the Friends, but patients are already receiving the benefits, with over 16 patients treated in the few weeks it has been operational. On the night, in excess of £13,500 was raised by 240 guests, and thanks are due to our major sponsors “etc” magazine and the Eastbourne Herald, and W.Bruford’s jewellers, together with invaluable help from Party Enterprising (balloons), A Creative Instinct (décor and design), Chalvington Communications and Missing Link (auction), together with many others whose generosity is greatly appreciated.

The title proved to be particularly apt as the Friends received confirmation just a few days earlier that the contracts for the redevelopment of Pevensey Ward at the DGH had finally been signed, with work due to commence almost immediately.

It has been a long and frustrating process with many false starts, and we are very grateful to all of our supporters not only for their generosity in contributing £500,000 towards enhancements, but their patience, which at times must have worn very thin. That is now to be rewarded with a vastly improved environment for patients requiring oncology treatment.

Furthermore, we were informed that plans to bring radiotherapy to the DGH site – hopefully by the end of 2015 – were making significant progress.

This will be a huge benefit for many patients who currently have to make daily trips to Brighton.

All three developments are a major step forward for the DGH and will make a significant difference for many cancer sufferers in our community. There is much to celebrate.

Peter Nash

chairman of the Friends of the DGH