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New ultrasound service launched in Haverhill after fundraising drive

PUBLISHED: 09:14 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 November 2018

Left to right: Stephen Dunn, Ivor MacLatchy, Nigel Beeton, Betty McLatchy, Matthew Hancock MP Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS TRUST

Left to right: Stephen Dunn, Ivor MacLatchy, Nigel Beeton, Betty McLatchy, Matthew Hancock MP Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS TRUST

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A new ultrasound service for Haverhill patients has been officially opened by health secretary and local MP Matt Hancock.

Secretary of state Matt Hancock MP with fundraiser Betty McLatchy Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS TRUSTSecretary of state Matt Hancock MP with fundraiser Betty McLatchy Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS TRUST

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and health secretary, joined fundraiser Betty McLatchy to formally open the service on November 2.

Mrs McLatchy, a former Haverhill councillor and mayor, spearheaded a £20,000 of community fundraising towards the equipment required.

The service, which will be manned by sonographers from the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) and has been supported by the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WSCCG), will start on November 8 at the Christmas Maltings surgery in Camps Road in the town.

The new service means Haverhill patients will be able to have much-needed scans without leaving the town – and no longer have to travel to West Suffolk Hospital, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge or Newmarket Hospital.

The new state-of-the-art equipment will enable a number of procedures to be carried out closer to home, such as abdominal scans, liver, kidney and gallbladder scans, and pelvic scans for conditions such as ovarian cysts.

Mrs McLatchy said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see this service launch.

“It’s with the help of many wonderful people in the Haverhill community that we’ve been able to raise this money. Haverhill really deserves this as a town, and it was a privilege to be able to help give something back.”

Mrs McLatchy, who lived in Haverhill for 10 years before moving to Wales with her husband Ivor in 2017, spent three years fundraising across the town for the ultrasound machine after injuring her thumb in an accident.

The former mayor then found there was a lack of local health services which she could access in the town.

Market stalls, dinner dances and some generous grants from borough council locality budgets all helped her to reach the £20,000 target.

Paying tribute to the fundraising, Mr Hancock said: “The most important thing is that the people of Haverhill, a growing town, are no longer going to have to travel to Bury for their ultrasound.

“We have not had secondary care in Haverhill - we have primary care, but now we’ve got the hospital providing services directly in town for the first time.

“So I regard this as a small beachhead for West Suffolk Hospital, which has always been regarded as the Bury hospital, but now is spreading out across the west of Suffolk.

“This is not just an ultrasound to ensure people don’t have to travel down the A143 to Bury, it’s the start of something much bigger and that is incredibly exciting.”

Ed Garratt, chief officer for WSCCG, said: “It is pleasing that the ultrasound machine will soon be ready to be used by West Suffolk Hospital’s team, helping support the health and wellbeing of people in Haverhill.

“The commitment of Betty McLatchy and the local community in seeing this project to fruition is to be applauded. We thank them for their hard work.”

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