Fighting Disease

Rotary fund life-saving technology to combat liver disease

Rotary fund life-saving technology to combat liver disease

Liver disease is growing at an alarming rate in the UK, and there is an increasing need for early diagnosis. Rotary has helped to fund a life-saving fibroscan at a hospital in Hertfordshire.

The Lister Hospital in Stevenage is now the owner of a brand new fibroscan device which will be crucial in the battle to combat liver disease.

The fibroscan is a type of ultrasound which can measure the degree of inflammation in the liver. It is a simple, painless test which uses high-frequency sound waves, and for doctors, it is a vital piece of equipment to detect liver disease early.

Now, thanks to funding from Rotary clubs in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, together with a generous donation from The Rotary Foundation, this technology is now available to the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

The hepatology service at the Trust provides inpatient and outpatient liver services to a population of 600,000 people.

Because of the prevalence of liver disease and the need to act swiftly, the Lister Hospital developed a five-year strategy to provide an improved hepatology service. And this was built around the need to have a fibroscan device. Lack of trained staff was another issue.

We were overwhelmed with the generosity of all the local Rotary clubs that contributed.”

All it took to meet the problem was a single phone call to Ron Gibson from Potters Bar Rotary and, four months later, thanks to the work of the Rotary District team, £50,000 was found to pay for the fibroscan, the XL Probe, training, installation, and part of the maintenance cost.

The money came from a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, set up by the District 1260 Foundation Committee.

Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland President, Debbie Hodge, attended the presentation of the device.

There, she described the work of The Rotary Foundation and mentioned what Rotary can achieve when working together.

Forty clubs had provided funds, with other money coming from District 1230 in Scotland, District 3036 in India, and District 9675 from Sydney, Australia.

Money was needed from abroad to meet the Global Grant requirement of 30% of the money coming from outside the host country.

Debbie also mentioned how Global Grants in your own country are very worthwhile, showing how Foundation money is well spent, doing good in the world.

Dr Simon Greenfield, Clinical Director for gastroenterology and hepatology with the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said he was delighted with the purchase of the liver fibroscan.

He said: “The equipment means that many patients will no longer need to undergo a painful liver biopsy in order to diagnose liver scarring.

“When looking to purchase this kit we made a departmental decision to seek charitable support just last summer.

It means patients no longer need to undergo a painful liver biopsy.”

“It took me only one phone call to Ron Gibson to get the ball rolling.

“Ron was immediately very enthusiastic about the potential purchase and there rapidly followed a meeting with him and Paul Denton, District 1260 Global Grants Chair and Dave Ford District Governor to discuss our proposals.

“We were truly amazed at the speed with which this purchase went through and overwhelmed with the generosity of all the local Rotary clubs that contributed to the purchase.

“The kit we now have will make a big difference to patient care and Rotary can be proud of how their support will help the local population. You do wonderful work.”

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said that the provision of the fibroscan would not have been possible without Rotary’s help.

He said: “Thanks to this new service, our patients will be able to have examinations locally to check for early liver scarring.

“The test is quick, efficient and pain-free, so it will make a great impact to our patients’ overall care and experience.

“We can’t thank the Rotary clubs enough for their ongoing support and for all the incredible work they put back into our community.

“It is a pleasure to work in partnership with them.”

Whether at home or in developing countries around the world, Rotary is building healthier and happier communities.

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