NHS trust 'relies' on crowdfunding to equip ward
An NHS trust has launched a crowdfunding appeal to buy equipment for a new hospital unit because "it cannot get started without donations".
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore, north west London, set up the appeal in a bid to raise £400,000 for its spinal injuries unit.
It said government money goes to frontline staff and services, making "investment in facilities difficult".
The GMB union said it was a "damning indictment" of the lack of NHS funding.
The 'Make it Possible' project is a first for any NHS trust and breaks new ground, with the ideas for improving care coming from patients and families.
The proposals are then assessed by a panel of experts for viability before a funding appeal is launched.
The first project is to help expand the RNOH spinal injuries unit, to include new equipment to rehabilitate patients and add six more beds to the ward.
About £126,000 of the £400,000 needed has been raised.
Rob Hurd, chief executive at the RNOH, said: "We have to be frank, capital is constrained in our National Health Service and investment in facilities is really difficult at this time.
"We are putting all our money into frontline nurses, doctors and providing the services. That means the infrastructure that we have got doesn't get replaced as quickly as we would like. So we need the help of donations and charitable sources to make those additional investments.
"So we really value those donations because without them we cannot even get started."
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
- Is a world leading treatment centre for spinal cord injuries
- Treats more than 2,000 patients a year from across the UK
- It operates from a collection of ageing buildings and portable cabins, some dating back to World War Two
- The hospital is crowdfunding to expand and equip a modern inpatient clinic
- Government funding has been approved to build a new hospital with 91 in-patient beds by 2018
The GMB union has criticised the government for the hospital's reliance on public donations.
National Secretary Rehana Azam said: "That the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital is asking members of the public to crowdfund improvements is a damning indictment of this government's reluctance to properly fund the NHS.
"It seems that it's not just workers and patients who're expected to suffer at the hands of NHS cuts; apparently the public's bank balances are too."
A Department of Health spokesperson said £10bn is being invested nationwide into the NHS, including about £4bn extra this year and a further £20bn to fund capital programmes such as maintenance and building projects.
It added: "Where trusts need additional funding for capital projects they can apply for it to ensure facilities are of the highest standards for patients."
Patient Marcus Perrineau Daley, 26, a DJ, model and fitness expert, who was left paralysed from waist down in a road accident last year, is fronting the crowdfunding campaign for the new unit.
He said: "No-one ever thinks it's going to happen to them but in a second my life changed forever.
"I had to wait months to be transferred to Stanmore to begin my road to recovery - the funds raised by this campaign will help ensure that patients like me can receive specialist help as quickly as possible."