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gift in Wills

RUH patients benefit from revolutionary technology

A generous legacy and donation from a local charitable trust is making a huge difference to patients needing complex facial and dental surgery at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH).

Clinicians in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Orthodontics department now have access to a brand new in-house 3D surgical planning and prosthetic design service, enabling them to plan surgical procedures in ways that were previously not possible.

By being able to provide this service, the department is seeing many benefits for their patients. There is no longer a need for patients to travel to Bristol for a special type of scan as all the treatment can be done at the RUH, helping to reduce anxiety and waiting times.

Serryth Colbert, Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, said: “The new scanner and the additional pieces of equipment, such as the 3D printer and the surgical design software is dramatically improving our efficiency in diagnosis and surgical treatment planning.”

“To highlight how valuable this new service is, we saw a young patient as an emergency case during the first COVID lockdown. He had a terrible jaw infection and difficulty breathing. Furthermore, he had a phobia of hospitals and that, combined with his anxiety over lockdown, meant he didn’t seek help until the symptoms had progressed significantly.”

“He had a scan using the new equipment and we printed a 3D model of his jaw. We were able to produce a diagnostic aide and reassure him by showing him the model and talking him through how the surgery would be done. The operation was a great success, and thanks to the pre-operative surgical planning, we were able to reduce his stay in hospital.

“Without a doubt the new scanner and 3D printer is improving patient outcomes, as well as reducing surgical time and patient waiting times. We are so grateful to the gentleman who left a gift in his will to our department and to the charitable Trust for their support. The impact is highly beneficial and we are providing the best treatment possible for our patients.”

The advanced scanner is also being used on a daily basis to assess a number of conditions, including impacted teeth, fractures, trauma, facial bone malposition, cysts and tumours.

Chris Keating, Specialty 3D and Dental Technician, who runs the 3D digital printing service said:

“We have been able to revolutionise the way in which we approach a patient’s case. This technology allows surgeons to enhance the precision of treatment and the planning of surgical procedures. 3D digital models can either be printed for diagnostic purposes or they can go on to be used in multiple stages of pre-operative surgical planning and implant design.

“The technology can also be used in other departments including orthopaedics that may need a customised surgical plate and cardiology, who have the opportunity of converting 2D clinical imaging into 3D anatomical models for heart surgeries and aneurisms.  This technology has opened up new potential for treatment – the sky is the limit.”

Jan Witt, Legacy Manager, The Forever Friends Appeal said: ‘”We are indebted to the late Bob Angell from Chippenham and the Medlock Charitable Trust whose incredible generosity has enabled the hospital to offer this excellent level of care to its patients.

“We look forward to hearing from clinicians how the technology is being rolled out to benefit patients in other departments at the RUH.”

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RUH Will Month returns for November

Our ever-popular RUH Will Month is returning in November to help the public make or update their Will at a reduced cost. You can now book your appointment to have your Will written with participating legal firms.

Ten legal firms across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset are taking part and their fees will be donated to the Royal United Hospitals Bath’s fundraising charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Special procedures have been put in place to ensure that clients will be in a safe environment during appointments.

RUH Will Month will run for one month only, helping people put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £125 or a standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills written for £175.

Jan Witt, the Appeal’s Tribute and Legacy Manager 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 and causes you love and care for.

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

This is the sixth consecutive year that RUH Will Month has run with substantial funds being raised every year for various causes across the hospital such as the Dyson Cancer Centre, research programmes and specialist medical equipment.

This year funds raised by the initiative will be put towards the charity’s speech and language special appeal. The Appeal is raising £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties. The equipment will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the X-ray clinic which can sometimes take a number of weeks.

The need for the mobile equipment has become even more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who have been on a ventilator have a 30% chance of suffering from swallowing difficulties. So, having this machine will really help the Speech and Language Therapy Team to assess COVID patients, either in ITU or in other parts of the hospital.

Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said: “Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.

“Having this machine will be a game changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”

However, participants can choose to support another campaigns or special appeal if they prefer.

Interested in having a Will written? Contact one of the participating solicitor firms as soon as possible as appointments get fully booked quickly. The full list of solicitors can be found on our website click here

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Legacy gifts fund vital equipment for RUH Eye Unit

Patients being treated for serious eye conditions at the Royal United Hospitals Bath are to benefit from new high tech medical equipment thanks to The Forever Friends Appeal receiving a number of legacies totalling £121,000.

Our charity has worked with Ophthalmology staff to purchase an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) retinal scanner and two slit lamps for the hospital’s busiest outpatient department.

The OCT retinal scanner (pictured below) will monitor patients with a range of conditions including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic macula oedema and retinal vein occlusions. The slit lamps are important tools and will enable ophthalmologists to detect eye diseases.

Helen Broadbent, Head of Optometry, RUH said:

“We are so grateful that these legacies have allowed us to purchase this additional equipment that are over and beyond what is provided by the NHS. Having a fourth OCT retinal scanner means that we can expand the service as we see a huge amount of patients every year. On average, 167 patients attend our eye outpatient’s clinic and over 18,000 patients were seen last year.

“Having this equipment is invaluable in the prevention of sight loss for many patients. In the case of one form of macular disease, Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the sooner it is caught the better, as treatment is more likely to be effective earlier on in the condition.”

According to the Macular Society, around 600,000 people in the UK currently have sight loss caused by AMD, with around 70,000 new cases every year or nearly 200 every day. Ophthalmology is now the busiest outpatient specialty in the UK, dealing with nine million outpatient appointments every year, with a predicted increase in demand of 30-40% over the next 20 years.

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer said:

“We are very grateful to have received these legacy gifts from former patients. Gifts left in Wills to our hospital make a huge difference and help ensure our hospital can continue to provide the very best treatment and care to patients now and in the future.”

If you are considering leaving a gift in your Will to help the RUH care for patients in the future, please contact Jan Witt Legacy Officer on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net to arrange a special visit or a chat on the phone.


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