Tea-bar helpers raise cup of cheer

Tea-up as volunteers arrive for a thank you tea party at Sunderland Royal Hospital

Tea-up as volunteers arrive for a thank you tea party at Sunderland Royal Hospital

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VOLUNTEERS have made sure patients on a new world-class ward will feel at home, by donating 18 flat-screen TVs.

The Friends of City Hospitals Accident and Emergency Tea Bar group gathered funds they have raised for the new Integrated Critical Care Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Hospital volunteers take a look around the ICCU department at Sunderland Royal Hospital after handing over televisions for the rooms.

Hospital volunteers take a look around the ICCU department at Sunderland Royal Hospital after handing over televisions for the rooms.

The group was given a tour of the new unit and celebrated with tea and biscuits in the refectory at the hospital’s Education Centre.

Sunderland Royal Hospital’s volunteers co-ordinator, Shirley Gillum, said staff were indebted to the effort that the volunteers have put in over the years.

“It is recognition for all the support, time and effort that they give to City Hospitals NHS,” she said.

“Some of the ladies who have volunteered now have 30 years’ service.”

Nurses Nova Wilson and Rachael Grey gave the group a guided tour of the unit, which is already being hailed as a world leader in patient care.

About 1,200 critically-ill and high dependency patients a year will benefit from the 18-bed facility. New equipment includes one of the most advanced electronic patient monitoring systems, with Sunderland being the first place in the world to get it.

The ICCU has four barrier rooms, where the door to the main staff corridor stays shut after the patient is admitted. Entrance is via an air-lock system.

Rooms are available for people with a high risk of infection, and can also deal with extreme infection cases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars).

The ward uses an electronic pharmacy system, with fingerprint recognition allowing safer dispensing of drugs by staff, and improved stock control.

The ICCU’s next target is to raise £60,000 to buy a specialist training mannequin.