The chairman of the Friends of Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust have been visiting the hospital to see how donations they have made are helping patients.

Over the last few months the group has donated a number of items of note to different departments across the hospital in Truro.

Beatrice Dyer, chairman of the Friends, visited the critical care unit to see a £25,000 complex care bed which had been purchased by the group with donations given by the people of Cornwall, which is for use with patients with spinal and pelvic injuries and allows clinical staff to move patients with greater stability.

Peter Johnson, advanced practitioner on the critical care unit, said: “It’s an amazing piece of kit and we really appreciate the Friends’ donation which has allowed us to get it. The bed was designed with clinical input so has a range of uses. Here it will mainly be used on the Trauma wards.

“We do have patients with spinal injuries in our CCU because they often require stabilisation prior to transfer to Derriford Hospital, a specialist centre.”

The Friends were also able to help out with the transfer of patients by providing a transfer trolley worth £10,000

Mr Johnson said: “The new trolley has meant we can now store equipment such as monitors more securely under the patient.”

Mrs Dyer said: “It just goes to show that while some of the things we donate are not big in size or price, they can make huge differences to patients and staff and can kick start new services or ways of working.”

One such new way of working is in hepatology. The donation of a small Fibroscan machine has virtually replaced liver biopsies in a massive proportion of patients. Liz Farrington, Hepatology nurse practitioner, said: “Liver biopsies involve a local anaesthetic and as with all anaesthetics and procedures can have complications and side effects. The Fibroscan enables us to check the liver in a non-invasive way and quickly. A biopsy is a day case procedure whereas the scan takes about ten minutes at no risk to the patient and results are available much more quickly.”

The Fibroscan machine uses sheer waves. It sends a pulse into the body and it is then possible to measure the stiffness of the liver. Liz said: “As a liver gets scarred through liver disease or cirrhosis, it gets stiffer. A floppy liver is good sign. If we can see that the person has no scarring we can discharge them quickly.”

Patients undergoing amputations have benefited from the donation of four pneumatic post amputation mobility aids, known as PPAMs. Physiotherapists use the aids to get patients who have had a leg amputation up and moving and on the road to recovery and their first steps.

Kirsty Worden, senior physiotherapist, said: “We usually try and get a patient up on the PPAMs by day four post operation. These devices provide a big psychological boost as well as practical support to patients. It allows them to get back on two legs and try walking again. This is important for them because they are likely to be in wheelchairs for around three months while they wait for artificial legs. We see around 70-80 patients a year who need to use the PPAMs so these four will make a big impact on a lot of people.”

Mrs Dyer said: "It is lovely to know that our donation of £1,000 for four PPAMs will benefit all these people and make such a difference to their recovery.”

Smaller items have included a desk for the hospital radio’s new second studio and the information board for Cornwall Endometriosis Centre.