Donations a big help to trust

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GENEROUS hospital patients and their relatives have been praised after donations to a cash-strapped health trust more than doubled despite the credit crunch.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust saw its charity funds, which come from donations pledged by local groups and individuals, as well as legacies left when people pass away, boosted in 2012.

The charity’s total income for 2011-12 was £1.041m, compared to £477,000 the year before.

This is being put down to the receipt of 10 legacies totalling £601,000, up by £583,000, and donations totalling £286,000 compared to £213,000 the previous year.

The rise in legacies allowed the trust to invest significantly in cancer treatments.

Generous members of the public have been praised after the trust’s coffers were boosted by donations, which saw £779,000 spent from the charity fund.

Significant spending from the charity pot included £92,000 on bronchoscopes and associated equipment, £152,000 on ultrasound scanners, £13,000 on ECG respirators and £6,000 on chest compression equipment.

The charity has also contributed £68,000 to refurbishment schemes at both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Lynne Hodgson, the trust’s director of finance, information and technology, told a trust board meeting, held at the University Hospital of North Tees: “It’s a very positive position bearing in mind the current economic climate.

“It’s really positive the fact that our donations and legacies have gone up this year.

“That’s really commendable for the public to feel that despite tough times we are in they still want to donate to the charity and support the charities within the institutions of the hospital.”

The charitable fund also allowed £233,000 to be spent on non-mandatory staff training.

The net assets of the charity have increased by £169,000 to £1.6m.

The Mail reported last year that the trust had to dip into the fund as trust bosses have to save £40m from their £260m budget.