GP practice embarks on ambitious fundraising drive

September 8, 2014

As part of an innovative project to provide patients with a first class health service on their doorstep, a family GP surgery in Crossmaglen has launched an ambitious initiative to purchase a state-of-the-art Ultrasound Scanner exclusively for patients.

Patients of Dr. Patrick Fee’s practice in Rathkeeland house are behind the enterprising plan to raise £30,000 to fund the equipment, which will have far-reaching benefits for the 3,000+ registered patients.

Since opening its doors in 1992, Dr Fee’s Surgery has always put patients and their family’s health at the centre of its daily work.  Now, 22 years later and with over 3,300 registered patients, more than 250 patients are seen every week.  With the practice growing almost daily, Dr. Neal Walker – a familiar face to many patients – recently joined with Dr. Fee.

The surgery offers traditional and non-traditional NHS procedures including in-house ECG’s, dermoscopy and ultrasound scanning, while joint injections, acupuncture and in-house counselling are among other services available to patients.

To add significantly to this checklist of treatments, some patients have recently formed a charity aimed at fundraising to purchase the ultrasound machine.  The ‘Friends of Rathkeeland House Surgery’ charity group has already begun the fundraising process by holding a Trotting Race on Sunday last, which was co-ordinated by Ms. Mary Meegan and her team.

Scanner benefits

The Ultrasound Scanner will offer benefits across the practice, from the traditional ante-natal use, right through to the identifications of gall/kidney stones and even the identification of some cancers.

Chances are someone you know has undergone an ultrasound exam.  Whether it’s to get a first glimpse of a developing baby in the womb or to determine the risk of heart attack, doctors use ultrasound widely in women and men, children and seniors to gain advanced insights into the inner workings of the body. In fact, ultrasound is the most utilized form of diagnostic imaging available today – after X-ray exams.

Safe, affordable and non-invasive, ultrasound is also portable. Very sick or fragile patients, for example, who might not be able to travel to a radiology lab without risking further injury, can essentially have the lab wheeled to them.

It can be used to determine soft-tissue injury such as nerve damage or other superficial injuries. Sports medicine has also benefited from ultrasound, such as the examination of sports-related injuries like stressed ligaments in the knee or an injured shoulder. The ability to look closely at moving tendons in the hand is of significant clinical benefit to orthopaedic and hand surgeons. Using ultrasound, doctors can see internal structures of nerves in the wrist to determine if they’re trapped or swollen, potentially causing carpal tunnel syndrome.  Muscle injuries to the ankle, hip, knee or elbow can also be addressed using this portable and safe diagnostic tool.

This service is not available in all GP surgeries and Dr. Fee’s practice is the only one in South Armagh to offer this to patients.  This new machine will increase accuracy of diagnosis and can expedite referrals for further care.

Acknowledging that raising £30,000 will not be a simple task, the Friends of Rathkeeland House Surgery believes it can be done by working as a team and with the support of the local community.

To this end, a number of fundraising events are being arranged and next up in the series is a ‘Ladies Big Night Out’ to be held on Friday 26th September at 8pm in The Cross Square Hotel. This night is being co-ordinated by the surgery’s Reception Team with the assistance of fundraising expert, Bronagh McEntee, and promises to be one of the biggest nights the town has ever seen.

Thirty local businesses are coming together to offer a night of pampering, indulgence, laughter and music. There will be make-overs available, with lots of fabulous spot prizes including vouchers for hats, hair, nails etc.  The Hotel is providing live music in the bar and we have plenty of free treats in store.

Admission of £5.00 at the door is going directly to the Ultrasound Fund.  So grab your sisters and friends, put on your high heels and lip-stick, and get down to the hotel for a great night’s craic.

If you and your family are interested in getting involved with fundraising efforts, or wish to make a donation, please contact the Reception team in Rathkeeland House – Tel: 02830 868189.