DIABETICS can now receive all the care they need under one roof - thanks to community fundraising efforts.
Over the last four years hundreds of individuals and organisations have helped raise a total of £300,000 toward the diabetes centre at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.
The centre, which saw its first patients receive treatment this week, is located in the outpatients area of the hospital and will be a one-stop shop where patients can access information, receive treatment and attend clinic appointments in a central area.
It houses consultants, podiatrists, specialist nurses and dieticians who can provide patients with all diabetes-related services.
Senior podiatrist Faith Murray said: 'In bringing all these services together, we will be able to deliver a more efficient service to our patients. We also hope to introduce some facilities which have not been available before, such as group education sessions.'
More than 9,000 diabetes patients are currently on record as living within the Leighton catchment area, a figure which rises annually.
Diabetic Barbara Nicholson, 55, who lives at Lord Street in Crewe, says the centre will be invaluable in helping her manage her diabetes.
'Everything will be under one roof. That makes a vast difference when you are slightly disabled and have to use a wheelchair like I do.
'Before this I was having to go to the clinic upstairs for a blood test, and then the full length of the hospital to have my feet seen to, but now everything related to diabetes will be there.'
Mrs Nicholson, who is area secretary for charity Diabetes UK, said that there are not many such centres in the country.
She said: 'They are few and far between. We are very lucky to have it, it has been hard work raising the money but it is going to be very good.'
The diabetes centre appeal, which was launched in 2000, finally hit its target of £300,000 earlier this year, with a donation of £5000 from the hospital's League of Friends.
Charitable appeals officer Janet Slack has helped co-ordinate fundraising for the centre since the appeal was launched in 2000.
She said: 'As well as an obvious big thank-you to the League of Friends I would also like to thank the many individuals and organisations who have contributed to the appeal and in particular the volunteers from both local branches of Diabetes UK.
'They have worked tirelessly to see this new facility up and running at Leighton. People's generosity never ceases to amaze me.'
For more information on fundraising or making a donation to Leighton Hospital, phone Janet Slack on 01270 612069.