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Actress Jenny Agutter opens a new ward designed to meet the complex needs of Cystic Fibrosis Patients at the northern General Hospital...pictured is Jenny with Patient Lauren Setterfield
Actress Jenny Agutter opens a new ward designed to meet the complex needs of Cystic Fibrosis Patients at the northern General Hospital...pictured is Jenny with Patient Lauren Setterfield

£400,000 donated for new cystic fibrosis unit

A STATE-of-the-art new unit for young patients with cystic fibrosis was opened officially at the Northern General Hospital yesterday - thanks in part to generosity of readers of The Star.

The world-class new ward - unveiled by special guest and screen star Jenny Agutter - was funded thanks partly to donations of around £400,000 from Star readers.

And during a tour of the new facility Jenny, who is a patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, praised The Star for backing the Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust’s £1 million Cystic Fibrosis Appeal.

“I applaud The Star for its tremendous efforts,” she said. “This is an example of what local papers do best - they inform their community of something they can make a difference about.

“People feel powerless when faced with national issues, but with local issues they feel they can do something.”

Jenny - star of films The Railway Children, Logan’s Run, and An American Werewolf in London - supports the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as she is a carrier of the CF gene.

After unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the new ward, she took a tour of the facility which features 12 en-suite boutique hotel-style rooms, specially designed to give patients independence and comfort while at the same time reducing the risk of cross-infection.

The ward is part of the Sheffield Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, run by specialist staff trained in treating those with the condition.

The rooms are designed to make patients feel at home with all medical equipment hidden away where possible.

Wi-fi internet has been installed to keep patients in touch with friends and family as well as helping patients keep up to date with school and work.

Each room is individually themed, featuring flat screen TVs, DVDs and Nintendo Wiis.

Previously, cystic fibrosis patients found themselves spending long stretches of time on respiratory wards, often with elderly patients.

Lauren Setterfield, aged 20, who is staying in the Lagoon Room, said: “Although I’m in hospital it feels very homely.

“I’d like to thank readers of The Star for donating to the appeal - this ward has improved the quality of our stays in hospital so much.”

Sue Lloyd, senior sister in charge of the ward, added: “It’s absolutely fabulous. The facility has allowed us to do the nursing we want to do.

“We get to know the patients and family really well and they feel like they can come to us for help with any problem.”

The unit also has its own kitchen, and a gym which helps patients with exercises for their breathing and posture - both of which can be affected by the condition.

Bafta-winning Jenny, aged 58, said such facilities are increasingly important given the rise in the number of adults with cystic fibrosis.

She said: “When I was younger only 50 per cent of people with cystic fibrosis made it past the age of six. But now, thanks to medical research, 50 per cent are making it to 30.

“This is fantastic but we need to care for these adults.”

The NHS provided £1.4 million to construct and equip the £2.4m unit. The Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust then raised close to the remaining £1 million needed to fund extras - £400,000 of which was handed over by readers of The Star.

The appeal is still open for donations - call 0114 271 1351.