TEN years ago, a state-of-the-art heart unit solely funded by the people of Bolton opened to the public.
In a campaign led by The Bolton News the town’s residents, hospital staff, patients, businesses, charities, community groups and celebrities all pulled together, with fundraising events, sponsored challenges and donations.
Together they managed to raise a whopping £1.3 million — enough to build the Coronary Care Unit (CCU).
The Coronary Care Appeal was chaired by Brett Warburton, from the Warburton breadmakers family, and run by staff at the hospital.
In just over 12 months, the team, with the help of the Bolton public, had raised enough to build the unit.
Work started in May, 2003, when the then Mayor of Bolton, Cllr John Walsh, cut the sod of turf on the spot where the unit now stands.
The CCU was opened to the public by the Bolton Wanderers’ manager Sam Allardyce in December that year.
During the ceremony, Wanderers’ owner Eddie Davies, who donated £200,000 towards the unit, unveiled a plaque to part of the unit called The Davies’ Suite, which includes the relatives room.
Now, 10 years after work began, staff on the unit have taken a look back to see how the CCU has transformed the care they are able to give patients.
Even though a decade has passed and equipment has been replaced, the unit is still state-of-the-art and a source of envy for other hospitals in the area.
Tracey Garde, who started working as a staff nurse in CCU in 1987 and is now matron for cardio and respiratory care, was one of the leaders of the Coronary Care Appeal, and said it took over her life for 12 months.
Mrs Garde added: “The people of Bolton should be very proud of what they have achieved.
“It was a big challenge 10 years ago and there was the fear of whether we would be able to raise the money.
“We didn’t want to get to £700,000 and the money just dry up. We had to make a commitment that we would raise the money and the whole of Bolton got behind us.”
Mrs Garde said the new unit was a big change for the better.
It replaced a small six-bed ward, which had a shared staff and family room, and had two beds that were not visible from the nursing station.
The new unit has nine beds and one side ward, which are all positioned around a raised central nursing station.
There is a large relatives room, with sofas, a pull-down bed, a kitchen area and en-suite bathrooms, and a separate staff room.
The unit is next door to the cardiology ward, which makes a patient’s transition to a recovery ward much easier, and is close to cardiac specialist Dr Peter Scott’s office.
It also has a pacing suite, for people who have a pace maker fitted.
Mrs Garde said: “It is light and bright and spacious. The patients don’t overlook each other but we can see them all clearly to monitor from the central station.”
It is a busy unit. Between April, 2012, and April this year, the unit treated 1,568 patients.
The unit has 24 nurses and six healthcare assistants and, on each shift, the unit has three nurses and one healthcare assistant.
Mrs Garde added: “For patients it is lovely and it is wonderful because this is what they helped to fund.
“The appeal took over my life really. I was working full-time and then I practically had another full-time job doing the fundraising, but it really was worth it because now we have something to be proud of.”
The CCU includes a piece of art