St Austell Healthcare’s Patient Participation Group raised more than £6,500 to fund bladder scanner

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A piece of kit is making it easier, safer and more convenient to identify if someone has a urinary condition and provide treatment closer to home, thanks to the efforts of fundraisers. 

St Austell Healthcare’s Patient Participation Group (PPG) raised more than £6,500 for the bladder scanner, which uses ultrasound to create an image that shows how much urine the bladder contains, allowing doctors and community nurses to detect abnormalities, as well as helping to diagnose urological conditions and aid recovery after urology surgery without the need of a catheter. 

The bladder scanner was presented by the PPG to Carlyon Road Health Hub and doctors and community nurses say the kit is used every day and made a huge difference to people who use the practice. 

Dr Alistair James, from St Austell Healthcare, said: “The scanner has improved care and prevented hospital admissions. We are very grateful as a practice for the fantastic support of the PPG. The fundraising they have done for the scanner was an amazing effort, much appreciated and is making a difference to the patients of St Austell.” 

Sandra Francis, chairwoman of the group made up of people living in the town who use the practice, said: “The Patient Participation Group, attached to St Austell Healthcare, is very excited to be able to present this piece of equipment. The benefit to the patients, who require a scan, is immense. The bladder scanner is non-evasive; providing a virtual 3D image of the bladder. It is safe, painless, reliable and accurate. There is no risk or urinary tract infection, no embarrassment and maintained dignity.” 

Previously the only access to the bladder scanner was via Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske or to have a catheter fitted. 

Richard Pears, Cornwall councillor for Mount Charles, volunteered to try out the bladder scanner when the PGG presented the surgery with it.

“This was a fantastic effort by the PPG group, which has resulted in the provision of a much needed new medical resource for our community. I cannot begin to stress what a wonderful achievement this is. It has already saved time and resources for our medical staff and improved the quality of care for patients but more importantly in the long run it will save lives. Shortly after the scanners delivery I volunteered to be one of the first people scanned. It was a little chilly but the whole procedure only took a minute. Now I know that it’s like to have an ultrasound.”

The PPG held raffles, made and sold cards and also received donations and support from St Austell Brewery, the Freemasons of Cornwall and Cuddra WI, and Cornwall and town councillors for St Austell.  

Main photo caption: Sandra Francis, from St Austell Healthcare’s Patient Participation Group (PPG), with Dr Alistair James, from St Austell Healthcare, at the unveiling of the bladder scanner.