A MAJOR boost has been provided for Haslemere Hospital, thanks to a joint effort by two town charities.

Haslemere Hospital League of Friends and Care in Haslemere have teamed up to buy a state-of-the-art optical coherence tomography scanner for the community hospital.

The league raised £35,000 towards the cost of the diagnostic facility and Care in Haslemere donated £11,000 of the total cost of £46,000.

Now it is equipped with the scanner, Haslemere Hospital can hold outpatient eye clinics for the first time for the benefit of local patients, who would otherwise have to travel to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

Royal Surrey consultant opthalmologist Anne Gilvarry attended the presentation on December 7 and will head the outpatient clinics at Haslemere.

Having a machine at Haslemere will also take pressure off the Royal Surrey, by reducing the number of outpatients.The scanner has remarkable diagnostic capability. Seeing deeper into the eye, it makes it possible to have a better understanding of many ocular pathologies, with the advantage of early disease detection and monitoring.

League of Friends chairman Rose Parry said: “For me, the most exciting thing for Haslemere Hospital is the Royal Surrey is looking at more varied ways of supporting our patients locally.

“We couldn’t have done it without the Royal Surrey’s support .

“Grahame Randall was a town GP before he took over the chair of Care in Haslemere.

“He said the charity had been given some money and he thought it would be far better to use it to help the hospital provide more clinics locally.

“It will also mean Care in Haslemere volunteers driving people to eye outpatient appointments will have shorter journeys, which will mean they can help more people without transport.”

The new scanner can also “talk” to the one at the Royal Surrey remotely.

Haslemere Hospital nurses will be trained to assist at the eye department outpatient clinics.