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Message for all our volunteers and supporters re: Coronavirus

17 March 2020

Dear valued volunteers & supporters,

We want to thank you for your kind and continued support and we’re thinking of you and our wonderful community of supporters at this time.

Our staff at the RUH are working incredibly hard to keep all of our patients safe and we are following the guidelines of the Department of Health about COVID-19 (coronavirus). As always, the care of our patients is the number one priority.

The COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation so as the RUH Hospital Charity we wanted to give some guidance and advice on visiting our hospital, our future planned events, fundraising in the community and how you can support for our charity and your hospital. Please check regularly for updates.

To stay up to date with the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus please click here

Visiting our hospital and Forever Friends Appeal offices

The Forever Friends Appeal offices are based on site at the RUH and we want to help keep our hospital site safe, therefore over the coming weeks and months many of the team will be working remotely from home. We are asking volunteers and visitors to please refrain from visiting the hospital unless specifically invited to do so. Whilst we may not be able to speak to you in person we will be available via the phone and email.  We may not always be able to answer phone calls immediately but do leave messages as we are able to pick up voicemail.

All non-essential meetings or events have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, instead we can talk to you via phone/ video calls where practical. The cancelled events includes cake and book sales that would normally be held in our atrium at the RUH. We have contacted our supporters who were due to hold an events here at the RUH and we will get in touch if you have an event planned in the near future if it needs to be cancelled or postponed.

If you do visit our hospital for an appointment, treatment or as a visitor, we kindly ask that you use the alcohol hand gel provided at each of our main entrances as you enter and leave hospital to protect yourself and others. Please also check regularly the information and advice being given by our hospital here

Our planned events

Whilst the COVID-19 situation continues, we are looking at how we can help reduce the risk of the spread of infection and keep our supporters safe. The health and safety of all our event participants, supporters and volunteers, many of whom take part in support of a family member who is a patient or as a patient themselves, is our absolute priority.

We have therefore decided to postpone the Walk of Life which was due to take place on Saturday 16th May.  We are currently working with the our suppliers to find an alternative date for later in the year and will keep in touch with all registered walkers to update them with the plans, as soon as they are confirmed. We would like to thank all of our brilliant walkers and volunteers for their support with this event so far, especially for all the hard work they have put into training and fundraising. We are determined to make sure every step they take/have taken, will still count for our patients.

At this time, we are also monitoring the other events we organise as a charity, and the impact they could potentially have on our supporters and others. The Event Section on our website will be updated on a regular basis and should plans for any of our other events change, we will notify those that may be affected as soon as possible.

If you are planning to attend an event which is organised by a third party in aid of The Forever Friends Appeal, then please check with the organiser for an update and further information.

Fundraising in the community

If you were planning to hold your own fundraising activities in aid of our charity in the coming weeks we understand that you may now have questions about what to do. We would recommend that you carefully consider the activities you have planned as the situation and government advice is changing on a daily basis. It is important that you keep up to date with the latest NHS guidelines and Government information to help you make your decisions.

Your support of the RUH hospital is very much appreciated especially at this time but more importantly your health and wellbeing, as well as that of your families and the wider public, is paramount. We fully understand if you decide to postpone or cancel your fundraising activities or you may choose to do a “virtual” activity in your own home.

Supporting the RUH Bath at this time

Our RUH hospital staff are working incredibly hard to continue to provide the highest quality of care for all our patients. If you would like to show your support to our staff and hospital you can by making a donation – we are incredibly grateful to all our supporters and the funds will be used towards the areas in the hospital where it’s needed most.

During this time we will be providing updates via social media, our website and e-newsletters, if you would like to sign up to receive news and information about how you can support our work please click here.

If you have any questions about how to support the hospital or about your fundraising please email forever.friends@nhs.net

Thank you for your patience and continued support

Rhyannon Boyd

Head of Fundraising

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Patient funds new scanner for RUH ward

Patients on the Gastroenterology ward at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH), Bath are benefitting from a new scanner, thanks to a former patient who funded the machine.

Bath resident Liz Daniel, who spent five weeks on Haygarth ward wanted to give something back for the care she received. After speaking to staff to find out what she could do, she funded a bladder scanner which cost £7,500.

Liz, who suffers from LA Amyloidosis, a very rare condition said: “The RUH has been there for me on several occasions and my first admission was on to Haygarth ward back in 2000.  My most recent stay was last summer. I am so thankful to the nurses on the ward for their wonderful care.  I’m sure having their own bladder scanner will make a huge difference to the staff and patients.”

The scanner uses ultrasound to scan a patient’s bladder to determine its volume, and is a valuable diagnostic tool. The procedure is painless for the patient and takes only a couple of minutes to complete.

Vanessa Barthez, Medical Nurse Practitioner on Haygarth ward said:

“We are so grateful to Liz for this generous gift. Many of our patients need to have their bladders scanned to assess their need for catheter intervention.  Having our own scanner means that we can get immediate results in a non-invasive way.”

The purchase of the bladder scanner was facilitated by the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Thanks to the application of Gift Aid, the ward was also able to purchase extra equipment, given by Liz as a tribute to her late husband, Reginald Jack Daniel OBE.

To find out more about our Appeal and the ways you can support the RUH please click here

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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall officially opens the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre

Staff, patients and guests celebrated the official opening today (Tuesday 22 October) by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, of the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.

The Duchess, President of the Royal Osteoporosis Society and Patron of Versus Arthritis, was given a guided tour of the new £20m purpose-built Centre and shown some of its facilities, including the hydrotherapy pool, specialist treatment areas and physiotherapy gyms.

James Scott, Chief Executive of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness here again. She has a long association with the Trust as well as being a former patron of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. The Duchess is a great supporter of our work and we were very proud to show her the wonderful new facilities we have created here.”

The Duchess was accompanied on her visit by Trust Chair Alison Ryan.  She was introduced to local entrepreneurs Andrew and Christina Brownsword, whose £1m Match Funding Challenge has enabled the hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal, to raise  £2m towards the overall cost of the new Centre, with every donation doubled by the Brownsword scheme.

The RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies  Centre brings together therapies and pain services located at the RUH with many of the services previously  located at the RNHRD’s Mineral Water Hospital site, known locally as the ‘Min.’

Uniting staff and services together on one site has been many years in the planning, and the RUH has worked closely with patients and staff to design the best new home for services relocating from the Min.

The Duchess also attended a reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Forever Friends Appeal and its raising of over £25m for patient services at the RUH.  She met with donors and volunteers and unveiled plaques to mark the event and officially open the new Centre.

During the reception The Duchess said: “As a past patron of the Min it’s lovely to be able to come here and see what has been done for the new Centre. I’m incredibly impressed by everything – the hydrotherapy pool looked extremely tempting! There seem to be a lot of very happy patients and it has a very welcoming atmosphere. I know that all of you here do so much to raise money for this hospital…so thank you for contributing to this wonderful new building.”

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Spice girl Geri Horner celebrates our 20th anniversary

Spice Girl, Geri Horner (Halliwell) visited the Royal United Hospitals Bath today, Monday 10 June ahead of the Spice World concert at Ashton Gate in Bristol.

Geri made the special trip to visit patients and staff at the RUH to mark the 20th anniversary of the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are thrilled that Geri came back to celebrate our 20th anniversary with us. Twenty years ago she was here helping us launch our charity and our first appeal ‘Giving new heart to the RUH’. It’s fantastic to welcome her back and show her how we’ve helped transform our hospital.

“We were delighted to give Geri a tour of the hospital to show her some of the areas which we have funded thanks to our generous supporters and donors. We also visited the Breast Unit, for which we are raising funds, and showed her the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre that will open this autumn.

Since our launch in 1999 over £25million has been raised for the RUH. The funds are used towards purchasing additional medical equipment, welcoming environments, new patient services and major build projects such as the RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre and the Dyson Cancer Centre.

In tribute to the Appeal’s 20th anniversary a unique floral display will be unveiled in Bath’s Parade Gardens this summer. Created by the BaNES Parks team, the display will be there for everyone to enjoy from 29 June until September.

Later this year, we plan to introduce some new exciting, innovative major campaigns and smaller appeals to continue making a real difference to patients and their families.


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Metal Detecting Rally raises £27,000 for RUH

A treasure trove of roman coins, ceramics, silver celtic coins and even a piece of gold, were discovered at a metal detecting weekend rally that was organised to raise money in memory of a local man.

Rodney Cook sadly passed away in September 2017 after a brave two year battle with cancer. He was treated and cared for by staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

The event, dubbed The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally has raised £27,000 for the RUH. It was organised by Gary Cook in memory of his dad Rodney and all profits raised from ticket sales, the raffle and extra donations will go to the RUH’s new Cancer Centre, who did so much to help his dad.

Gary Cook, Rodney’s son said:

“When my father was suffering from cancer he was looked after more than words can even explain – the staff in the RUH’s Oncology Unit are amazing. They really cared for my Dad every step of the way through his treatment. That’s why we are thrilled to have raised money in his memory for the new Cancer Care Centre.

“It is all about the beginning, middle and end of your treatment. From when he was first given the diagnosis, the way that they talked to my dad, to us his family and how they looked after him was just fantastic.

“We knew that the hospital is in need of funds, so we decided to organise a metal detecting weekend rally to help raise money for cancer care in Rodney’s memory. The RUH Cancer Unit were simply amazing and we wanted to give something back.

With the help of all of my friends at Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Club, sponsors, land owners and close friends and family, we organised The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally just outside Cirencester.  From the ticket sales and raffle £27,000 will be donated to The Forever Friends Appeal’s Cancer Care Campaign.”

Claudia Hickin, Senior Community Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal said, ‘We are so grateful to everyone involved in the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally, a group of kind, friendly and generous people who put in so much effort to raise a substantial amount of money for a cause close to their hearts. We are delighted to welcome them as a Senior Community Partner, and to acknowledge their fundraising, we will be naming a room in the new Cancer Centre after them.’

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Walkers raise over £100,000 for RUH charity

Over £100,000 has been raised for the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath, by the walkers who took part in the Walk of Life.

The sponsored canal walk took place on 12 May and on the day, 500 people stepped out along the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath and covered an impressive 8,200 miles.

Many people took on the marathon 26.2 mile challenge from Bishops Cannings near Devizes, which was set off by Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis (CBE). Others joined the 10 mile distance from Bradford on Avon. Everyone crossed the finish line at the Holburne Museum in Bath, welcomed with a celebratory medal and scone treat.

The Walk of Life takes place every year to raise funds for patients and their families at the RUH and gives participants the opportunity to walk in memory of loved ones, to celebrate life, show support for someone receiving treatment at the RUH or simply to take on the challenge. The event first began in 2006, created with and in memory of Vanessa Kyte, and since then has raised over half a million pounds for the hospital.

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Laura Pearce, Events and Community Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the Walk of Life this year and to those that kindly sponsored our walkers. Every step taken and every pound raised means that we can continue to fund extra-special projects, equipment and innovations that will transform care for patients and their families at the RUH.

As our walkers can choose to support any part of the Hospital that is close to their heart, there are so many different areas benefitting from the event – from Cancer Care to Cardiac, the new RNHRD & Therapies Centre to our Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) and many more! The money raised will touch the lives of thousands of local people, who need the hospital for so many different reasons.

We’d also like to thank our event sponsors Kier and MJ Church and our wonderful volunteers, who make everything possible on the day.”

Liz Galpin, 37, from Hilperton has taken part in the Walk of Life for the last few years. She said:

“Having received amazing treatment and care at the RUH for Breast Cancer and the RNHRD for Cancer related fatigue, it has meant that I am here today to enjoy life and be a mummy. I walked because it’s an amazing cause to raise money for, and has helped me and will help so many others in the future.  Although the walk takes a lot of training and is exhausting, it is so worthwhile, such a friendly atmosphere and is really good fun.”

A film of this year’s Walk of Life is now available to watch  and registration for next year’s Walk of Life is now open here. For more information call us on 01225 821535.

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Make or update your Will and help support the RUH

Back by popular demand – RUH Will month aims to help the public make or update their Will at a reduced cost. The scheme starts in September and from today the public can book their Will writing appointment at participating solicitor firms.

Eleven solicitor firms across Bath, North East Somerset and Wiltshire are participating and the fees will be donated to The Forever Friends Appeal.

RUH Will month initiative will run for one month only and people will be able to put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £125 or for standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills written for £175.

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“It may come as a surprise that fewer than half of the population have an up-to-date Will, despite its importance in offering you peace of mind and security for both you and your family.  Often having a Will written can be expensive, therefore, we’d like to urge people to take advantage of this Will writing offer at the reduced rates to ensure your savings and possessions go to the people you love and care for.

“It is easy to take part in this offer, simply call any one of the participating solicitors (listed below) to make an appointment for September and quote ‘RUH Will Month’. At the meeting the solicitor will guide you through the process and ensure that your Will reflects your wishes.

“Make a Will month is an opportunity to support your local hospital and you can request that your fee is donated to a specific area of the hospital if you have a special connection to a ward or department in the RUH.”

David Hill,  Partner and Head of Private Client for Mogers Drewett Solicitors, Bath said:

“It is not any easy topic to address and is often put at the bottom of the to-do list, but there are various changes in life that may mean you should consider making or updating your Will.  A Will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die, and without a Will the process can be more time consuming, costly and stressful.

“Writing a Will is especially important if you have children or other family members who depend on you financially.  If you don’t write a Will everything will go under the Rules of Intestacy defined by the law, which is not always the way you might want your estate to be distributed.  You may also wish to consider appointing guardians for young children.

“When you book an appointment to discuss your Will requirements we will provide you with full legal advice and everything will be explained clearly.  So don’t put it off until a later date, have a Will written professionally this September so that your assets are left to the people and causes you care about, in accordance with your wishes.”

Interested in having a Will written? Contact one of the participating solicitor firms (below) as soon as possible as appointments get booked up in advance.

The participating Bath solicitor firms are: Burningham & Brown Solicitors , Helen Starkie Solicitors, Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors, Mogers Drewett Solicitors, Royds Withy King Solicitors

The participating Wiltshire solicitor firms are: Ames Kent Solicitors, Awdry Bailey & Douglas Solicitors, Farnfields Solicitors, Harris & Harris Solicitors, Mogers Drewett Solicitors

The participating BaNES solicitor firms are: Wards Solicitors and Thatcher & Hallam Solicitors

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Local businesses show support for Walk of Life event

Local businesses, Kier Construction and M J Church are lead sponsors for our Walk of Life event, a 26.2 mile walking event which raises funds for the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

This year’s Walk of Life takes place on Saturday 12 May and starts in Bishops Cannings, finishing in Bath, taking walkers along the Kennet and Avon Canal. There’s also an option for people to walk a 10 mile distance from Bradford on Avon to Bath in the afternoon.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“The Walk of Life is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the life and memories of loved ones and we’re thrilled to have support from M J Church and Kier Construction as it’s a huge event for us to manage with the number of participants growing each year.

“As well as being sponsors and providing transport and porter loos, staff from both companies will be volunteering on the day to guide our walkers along the route. They’ve also entered teams in our corporate challenge; helping to raise further funds for the Appeal, so we can’t thank them enough for their support. We hope to see another sell-out year, smashing last year’s total for patient care at the RUH.”

Carol Heneghan, Marketing Manager, M J Church said:

“We are very pleased to be joint sponsors for the Walk of Life event. Our corporate challenge team will be raising funds for the new Cancer centre as it’s a cause close to our hearts. A family member, friend colleague and longtime supporter of the Appeal sadly passed away last year. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and we want to continue fundraising for the Cancer centre in his memory.”

David Snell, Operations Director, Kier Construction said:

“We are pleased to be able to lend our support again to this year’s Walk of Life.  Visitors to the hospital will know that we are in the process of constructing the new Therapies Centre and our site team, along with many other staff, will be taking part in the Walk of Life event.”

Along with general entry places, local businesses can sign up for the Walk of Life Corporate Challenge offering colleagues, clients and suppliers a unique team building opportunity to fundraise together. The Walk already has over 120 people registered for this year’s event with a limited number of spaces; we would like to encourage interested walkers to sign up on our website as soon as possible.

General entry places and corporate challenge places cost £20 and everyone who signs up will receive a   t-shirt, medal and refreshments along the way. Glastonbury festival founder, Michael Eavis CBE will be there to officially mark the start of this year’s Walk of Life in Bishop Cannings, near Devizes.


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RUH Will writing month raises £42,000

Thanks to the support of solicitor firms in Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire, a total of £42,000 has been raised for The Forever Friends Appeal, the fundraising charity of the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

This incredible amount was achieved by the generosity of 15 solicitor firms who waived their Will writing fees during the annual RUH Will Month fundraising scheme, offering the public the opportunity to have a Will drawn up professionally at a reduced cost.

Solicitors with cheque

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“This is the biggest amount raised so far by our scheme and we are very appreciative of the generous support given to us by the solicitors who work extremely hard to help as many people as possible to draw up thousands of Wills throughout September last year.

“RUH Will Month has been running for three years and it has proved to be very valuable to the Appeal. Not only does it raise significant funds towards the work we do helping to fund projects and equipment for all areas across the hospital, but also provides a yearly reminder to the public, to focus on getting their affairs in order to ensure their savings and possessions go to the people they love and care for.”

Amongst the solicitor firms involved in the scheme, Bath-based Helen Starkie solicitors raised £10,000, making them a Corporate Partner of The Forever Friends Appeal.

Helen Starky Solicitors

Gina Lawrence, Helen Starkie Solicitors said:

“Everyone needs a Will in place to help get their affairs in order, whilst providing peace of mind. We are so pleased to offer our specialist service in this area which supports such a worthy charity and at the same time benefits patients cared for at the RUH.

“We have met some lovely people during the annual RUH Will month scheme and are pleased to help raise funds towards The Forever Friends Appeal.  Our support over the last three years has raised £10,000 which has now enabled Helen Starkie Solicitor to become one of  the Appeal’s Corporate Partners, which is an added bonus and will provide a great working partnership.”

The RUH Will month scheme runs during September only. During that time people will have the opportunity to put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £100 or standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills for £150. Details of the firms taking part this year will be announced later this year.


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RUH Patients are face of Therapies Matter campaign

Real life stories from patients are the focus of a new campaign by The Forever Friends Appeal to help reach its £2 million fundraising target for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre being built at the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

The Appeal’s ‘Therapies Matter’ campaign features people of all ages and backgrounds who have received therapy to aid their recovery, or for some to learn how to manage their long-term condition. Using powerful, emotive words each patient’s story is now on display in the hospital to captivate the public’s interest in supporting the Appeal.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We’ve created a campaign to highlight how RUH patients have benefited from therapies and we’ve got some remarkable stories to share. For many patients, their lives have been completely turned around from having intensive treatment such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy and others. That’s why it’s so important the RUH has this new innovative, state-of-the-art RNHRD and Therapies Centre, so they can continue to provide the much-needed therapy services to the some 25,000 people who are treated each year.

“We’ve had many patients contact us to take part in our campaign, so throughout the year we will share their stories on our website and social media to highlight how therapies have helped them recover, achieve personal goals and get back to ‘normal’ life.

“I hope this campaign will resonate with the public and encourage those who can, to make a donation towards the RNHRD and Therapies Centre which is costing c£16m to build. Having benefactors Andrew and Christina Brownsword’s pledge to match every pound donated up to £1m is fantastic and we would very much welcome help from the public to achieve our target of raising £2m.”

Featuring in the ‘Therapies Matter’ campaign is the Appeal’s Ambassador, former rugby player, Ed Jackson who was told that he may not walk again after suffering a broken neck in a freak accident in April 2017. Ed received intensive physiotherapy as an inpatient at the RUH and visited Orthotics as an outpatient to help him walk again, he is making incredible progress. Ed said:

“As a spinal injury patient, I have learned just how important the environment is to wellbeing and recovery, having spent so much time lying down and staring at the ceiling, and unable to leave the hospital setting. Therapeutic environments, calming surroundings and mental stimulation are hugely beneficial.

“Staff at the RUH do an amazing job, and I believe that they should be supported by working in the right environments to help them to deliver the best level of care too. We need the public’s support to help raise the funds needed to build this innovative and therapeutic new centre.”

It’s not just people from Bath who are taking part in the campaign, Nic Noble, from Warminster, a supporter of the RUH said:

“An MRI scan revealed that six of my vertebrae had collapsed and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was referred to Dr Bhalla at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD, known locally as ‘The Min’). The staff were fantastic; Dr Bhalla, the Physiotherapists gave me the support I needed for my recovery. I believe that this new Centre will help so many more patients like me, it’s a wonderful project that will provide a positive and nurturing environment for so many people in our community.”

Gina Sargeant, Head of Therapies, the RUH said:

“We run a variety of inpatient and outpatient specialist services for patients, from those who have acute injuries through to teaching those who have a long-term condition how to self-manage. But, our current facilities for these services are out of date; therapies are dispersed across the hospital, on two different sites and do not complement or assist the hospital’s aims for achieving the highest quality of clinical care.

“The whole ethos of a new RNHRD & Therapies Centre will bring all these services together and create a nurturing environment with dedicated specialist facilities for all our patients.”

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre will house many of the rheumatology, therapies and pain management services that are currently located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and in the RUH.  It has been designed in conjunction with patients, staff and architects, and will include a large hydrotherapy pool, a specialist gym and rehabilitation equipment, and a biologics treatment space to support treatment, recovery, wellbeing and the management of long-term conditions.

There are many ways people can help The Forever Friends Appeal reach their fundraising target including; texting RUHB10 to 70070 to donate £10, make a donation on our website, on our JustGiving page or by signing up to take part in one of the Appeal’s walking, running or challenge events planned in 2018 and raise funds via sponsorship for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre.

For information about the RNHRD and Therapies Centre click here

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