01245 443 285
Friends at Broomfield donate £50k to Robot Appeal

Friends at Broomfield donate £50k to Robot Appeal

The Friends at Broomfield have donated a magnificent £50,000 to the robotic surgery appeal.

The Friends, who run two shops at the hospital, made a special visit to Theatres to present a cheque and have a demonstration of the Da Vinci robot from surgeon Sri Kadirkamanathan. Some of the ladies even had a go at operating the robot themselves.

The Friends’ Janet Warn said: “When you see the robot, it really makes you appreciate what fundraising can do. It was great to get hands-on. We are all volunteers in the shops and on the trolleys and all enjoy working here. It makes me want to work a few more hours now!”

Fellow volunteer Carol Hansel also got to experience the machine in action: “Using the robot was very therapeutic, like the consultant told us it would be. It was amazing how dextrous you could be.”

Surgeon Sri Kadirkamanathan said: “I’m absolutely delighted. We need a lot of funding for the robot and I’m really stunned and very grateful for the Friends’ support.”

Charlotte Jefcoate, fundraising coordinator at Mid Essex Hospitals Charity, was thrilled with the Friends’ contribution:

“The Friends are such an asset to the hospital. Their shops are fantastic value for money and you’re always greeted with a smile. We’d encourage all staff to use the Friends’ shops as much as possible because it all benefits the hospital. So if you need a drink or snack, make sure you pop in and say hello to the Friends.”

The robot has four arms attached to a freestanding cart. One arm holds a camera (the laparoscope) and the surgeon operates the “hands” on the other three arms by inserting his or her fingers into rings and using foot controls.

A very small 3D camera and dime-sized surgical instruments are placed inside the patient through tiny incisions. The camera gives the surgeon a magnified 360 degree view of the operative field. Using the console’s hand and foot controls, the surgeon remotely moves robotic arms attached to surgical instruments.

With smaller incisions and better precision, the patient experiences less pain during and after surgery. You’ll also be less dependent on painkillers during recovery. Blood loss during robotic surgery is minimal and you generally avoid the need for blood transfusions.

“The Friends – Supporting your hospital, supporting you”

Cleft Fundraising Buys New Bottles and Breastfeeding Pumps

Cleft Fundraising Buys New Bottles and Breastfeeding Pumps

Parents Stuart and Carol Gosling have funded five new breast pumps and bottles for children born with cleft lip and palate thanks to generous donations including another £2,000 from the Friends at Broomfield.

A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth as a result of a baby’s face not joining together in the womb. It affects one in 700 babies born in the UK and makes it difficult for the child to feed from either the breast or a conventional bottle because they are unable to form a vacuum inside their mouths.

Carol and Stuart’s son Oliver was born with cleft lip and palate in 2015 and has had two reconstructive operations. 

Over £14,000 has now been raised for the hospital’s cleft department. The Friends’ latest donation is in addition to the £6,000 they have contributed previously, and there has also been a substantial sum from an anonymous donor, and money raised by two charity football matches and table-top sales in the atrium.

Peri Codling, clinical nurse specialist for cleft lip and palate, said: “These pumps are so beneficial. It means mums will be able to express their milk and give their babies the specialised bottle so they get the best breast milk.

“We’ve doubled our quantity of breast pumps and we are able to offer more mums and babies that want to breastfeed the opportunity.”

Carol Gosling said: “When Oliver was born, I was unable to express to breastfeed but I felt it was really important for him to have breast milk. We were kindly lent a breast pump but at the time there were only a limited number available. As we knew there was a shortage, we wanted to give something back for the care we’ve had for Oliver.

“We also want to raise awareness as not many people realise the feeding complications that babies born with cleft palates have. They think it’s just a couple of operations and it’s done.”

Dad Stuart added: “The help from Broomfield cleft team has been amazing – second to none.”

Mum Tanuja Wimslow, whose son was also born with cleft lip and palate, has been one of the parents to benefit from the Gosling’s fundraising: “When my milk came in I was able to use the breast pumps in hospital and establish feeding with him confidently using the specialist bottles. By giving him breast milk, I felt I was doing as much as I could do to give him immunity when he was having operations.”

“The Friends – Supporting your hospital, supporting you”

Celebrating 70yrs of the Friends

Celebrating 70yrs of the Friends

From Soap, Shampoo and Sheds to Bats, Shops and Robots

In 1940 Broomfield Hospital was built as a sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis patients, whose hospital stay could be anything between 6 months to about four years. Towards the end of the second world war 50 per cent of the patients were ex-servicemen.  In 1949 a small group of philanthropic people got together to provide small comforts to these patients who were often a long way from home and family. They did whatever they could to make the patient’s lives a little more comfortable, giving soap, shampoos and other small gifts.

This small group grew and in 1957 they were first registered as a charity whose only aim was to support Broomfield Hospital.  The aim and indeed the charity is still the same today. The membership grew, as more people volunteered to help. The group then decided to open a shop which operated out of a small shed at the front of the ward block (near where the mortuary is now). They sold sweets, drinks etc to the visitors and staff and the shop was manned entirely by volunteers, with all profits continuing to purchase small comforts for the patients.

Over the years the profit from this trading grew to such an extent that small items of much needed equipment began to be purchased by the Friends, a trolley service was set up to visit patients, then later a library service. A larger shop was opened in the ward block with a second one opening in the Atrium many years later. Larger and larger pieces of equipment were purchased as the years went on, and trading in the busy shops increased ,supported by patients, staff,  and visitors.

All the staff were volunteers and continue to be so, which enables all profits generated to be used for the Hospital.  The Friends give on average £50k to £60k in grants every year, responding to requests that come directly from the Trust. These requests vary from medical equipment, grants to enhance the environment both inside and outside the hospital (hence the bats),  grants to support the staff and of course grants to help the patients so they have a positive experience whilst in hospital,  including toiletry bags, grants to the dignity project for clothing, the enhancing of day rooms, gardens and artworks.

Our only purpose then and now, is to support Broomfield Hospital. This what we do. Providing refreshments at events, funding the  extras for the hospital that cannot be funded by normal exchequer funding, taking an active part in the life of the hospital by  providing extras at Christmas, and most important of all showing a friendly, non clinical face to patients in what can be a most challenging and stressful environment.

Over the last ten years we have purchased larger and more  complex pieces of equipment, and are often the key to services being able to progress quickly into new areas. We gave almost £40k to the Stroke service to purchase a machine to monitor swallowing in patients who have had a stroke. We have also just donated £50k towards the new surgical robot at Broomfield, a remarkable development for our hospital.

We make small grants as well, bladder scanners, new chairs, the upgrading of day rooms, gardens and even a new fridge for a busy department,  all of these requests come via the hospital and are checked to make sure they are needed, have funds allocated for any training and maintenance required and most important of all will benefit the patients and staff.

All of this is only possible because of our volunteers, who give their time freely and willingly to support our work, and we can only continue our work because of them.

The hours donated by these unsung heroes is truly remarkable they all  ensure that we continue to support this wonderful hospital, and long may it continue for the next 70 years.

If you would like to be involved, we always need more volunteers , so if you would like help, please click here or telephone us on 01245 443285.

“The Friends – Supporting your hospital, supporting you”

Patients Benefit from Refurbished Discharge Lounge Thanks to Charitable Donations

Patients Benefit from Refurbished Discharge Lounge Thanks to Charitable Donations

Patients who are awaiting discharge from hospital can now benefit from improved surroundings thanks to charitable donations.

On Monday, December 4, trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, attended an event to officially open the discharge lounge, alongside colleagues from across the trust. The Friends at Broomfield Hospital donated £10,000 to the renovation project, with a further £5,000 from monies given to ‘Our Charity’.



The room has been updated with new, comfortable reclining chairs and tables and has been decorated with artwork depicting local scenes, painted by Hatfield Peverel Art Group member Jim Cole. The titles of the pieces are Canal Boat Rocky’s Roost at Sandford Mill, Pump Cottage on Writtle Green, Relaxing by the Stone Bridge, Castle Hedingham Station on the Colne Valley Railway, Canoeing on the River Chelmer, Chelmsford City High Street on a Wintry Day, Costa Therapy at Broomfield Hospital and Walking the Dog at Hylands Park. Hilary Treadwell, of Springfield, has kindly donated a selection of blankets.

The money has also been used for patient amenities, magazines and refreshments.

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, said: “Thank you to the Friends at Broomfield Hospital and to our generous donors for your contributions to this wonderful project.

“It is fantastic that with your support, we have been able to refurbish the discharge lounge and make it a much more pleasant environment for people leaving hospital.”

A recent presentation to the Discharge Lounge including Nick Alston – Chairman of the Trust, various Friends members and members of staff.

“The Friends – Supporting your hospital, supporting you”

Second Dementia Friendly Garden Opens

Second Dementia Friendly Garden Opens

A second dementia friendly garden outside Baddow Ward was opened by the Mayor of Chelmsford Duncan Lumley.  This garden was made possible by £50,000 of charitable donations, the Friends donated £10,000 towards this.

The garden which builds on the huge success of the Forget Me Not Garden at neighbouring Braxted Ward provides a therapeutic outside environment for patients and visitors to enjoy.  The health benefits of spending time in outside environments are well documented and are extremely beneficial to dementia patients in particular.

More than 40 volunteers, including many staff members assisted with the construction of the garden which took over 220 hours throughout the summer to complete.

“The Friends – Supporting your hospital, supporting you”