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Gallery/Video: Countess of Wessex officially opens Ipswich Hospital’s new cardiac centre

PUBLISHED: 18:04 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 18:55 19 March 2014

The Countess of Wessex officially opens the new Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital. 
Pictured with Dr Paul Venables and Dr Sanjay Jeyaseelan Consultant Cardiologists

The Countess of Wessex officially opens the new Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Pictured with Dr Paul Venables and Dr Sanjay Jeyaseelan Consultant Cardiologists

After three years of determined campaigning, Ipswich’s state-of-the-art cardiac centre was today officially unveiled by Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex.

The opening was the crowning glory of a hard-fought victory to keep elective heart services at Ipswich Hospital by the EADT and its sister paper the Ipswich Star’s Have a Heart campaign, Heartbeat East Suffolk and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.

Sophie Wessex toured the unit, greeting dignitaries, heart specialists, nurses and patients, before unveiling a plaque.

Ipswich Hospital’s chief executive Nick Hulme led Sophie Wessex to the heart centre where lead consultant Dr Duncan McNab explained the procedures carried out.

Mr Hulme said: “The heart centre is a prime example of what we can do together and I would like to thank everyone for their work to secure this unit.”

The Countess said: “What an impressive department you have and I have no doubt that the many patients who will be undergoing procedures here will be hugely and eternally grateful.”

The heart centre was funded by the Department of Health after the three-year Have a Heart campaign with support from Heartbeat East Suffolk and Mr Gummer.

Readers helped raise more than £30,000 to help furnish the unit while Heartbeat East Suffolk made a £78,000 donation which was used to pay for mood lighting in the two new theatres with calming music and various other equipment.

Treasurer Mike Farthing said: “We are very proud and pleased to have been able to help with the premises here.

“We spent just under £80,000 with the hospital and it’s money well spent.”

The Countess was also presented with a posy by five-year-old Phoebe Rigen, whose mother Penny is a nurse in the heart centre.

Mr Gummer hailed the occasion as a “magnificent day”. He added: “It’s a great day because of we have this amazing new service officially opened.

“The visit was fantastic and this is vindication and proof that if you are willing to fight for something, you can win.”

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