Excellent result for our recent X-ray appeal

At Christmas, we launched a £120,000 appeal to provide the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) in Brighton with a state-of-the-art real-time digital X-ray imaging facility, to help treat premature babies.

Thanks to your incredible support throughout six months of the campaign, we’ve been able to raise the funds needed to purchase the specialist piece of equipment which will be on site in the Autumn. The new equipment will significantly improve the overall experience of a preterm infant, who typically requires multiple X-rays to be taken during their admission.

The machine has been developed to provide neonatal staff at the TMBU with an instant X-ray image, allowing immediate modification of lines and tubes on a premature baby. The new digital imaging system will completely revolutionise the way in which staff can treat their tiny patients.

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, says: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters, who have enabled us to achieve our TMBU X-ray appeal fundraising target. Together they have contributed to such an important cause which will help more premature babies in Sussex to lead a happy and healthy life.

“In my six years here at Rockinghorse, I am regularly humbled and inspired by our supporters, who many themselves, have experienced the life-saving work of the Trevor Mann Baby Unit. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has helped to make a lasting difference by contributing to this appeal.”

The TMBU has been synonymous with Rockinghorse ever since Dr Trevor Mann founded our charity in 1967. From that day to this, the unit has always been at the centre of our fundraising focus, a platform proudly shared with our work at the neighbouring Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton.

Many of our supporters have themselves experienced the life-saving work of the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, often with varying degrees of outcomes ranging from elation to despair. When you’ve had a child on the TMBU, an automatic bond tends to be created that will remain with you forever.

There is no doubt that almost everyone in Sussex will know of someone who has relied on the service at some point in its long-serving history, and it’s that connection that has helped us to achieve our fundraising target to make the X-ray appeal a reality. People often talk about legacy, and thanks to your donations, this is our ‘real-time’ legacy. Thank you.

So, what impact will this facility have?

Dr Ryan Watkins is a Consultant Neonatologist at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, he shares this with us: “Over 550 babies a year are admitted to the TMBU, and it is not uncommon for a baby to require up to 30 X-rays during their stay. Currently, when an X-ray is needed for a patient, we request a radiographer to attend from the adult hospital.

“They use a traditional X-ray machine and once an image is taken and processed, it can take some time – and an anxious wait for parents – before the medical team can examine the results and offer the appropriate treatment.

“An X-ray isn’t only required to check for broken bones or internal problems; we also use these images to check the position of intravenous lines and feeding tubes, as premature babies are extremely small patients to treat.”

TMBU Consultant, Dr Phil Amess, adds: “Last year we performed over 1,700 X-ray examinations on the unit. We try to keep these to a minimum, but in many situations, X-ray imaging remains the best option for guiding our treatments.

“The new digital X-ray machine has numerous advantages and benefits and would completely change the way in which we can treat our tiny patients; this includes immediate processing of an X-ray image at the cot side. Our aim on the TMBU is to always provide the very best patient care on the unit and we cannot do this without Rockinghorse.”

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