Barking Community Hospital reopens and sickle cell service launched

Barking Community Hospital opens

Barking Community Hospital opens - Credit: Archant

»Barking Community Hospital was officially reopened by MP Margaret Hodge on Friday following a £12million upgrade.

Margaret Hodge opens Barking Community Hospital

Margaret Hodge opens Barking Community Hospital - Credit: Archant

The newly developed site provides a range of services for local people, including X-rays, a midwife-led birthing unit, mental health recovery services, sexual health and HIV service and a walk-in centre.

Shirley Cumberbatch won an award for caring for her son who has sickle cell anaemia

Shirley Cumberbatch won an award for caring for her son who has sickle cell anaemia - Credit: Archant

Margaret Hodge commented: “I am absolutely delighted to have opened the new Barking Hospital. It is the proudest thing for which I have campaigned in all my years as the local MP. I am especially grateful to the Friends of Barking Hospital for all their tireless work. We have stood together side by side through thick and thin. We’ve fought on when we’ve been let down, and we‘ve fought to keep the hospital here in Barking.”

One of the new services being offered is for people with sickle cell and thalassaemia, which are blood disorders that affect how oxygen is carried through the body, causing bone pain as well as serious complications such as organ failure or even stroke.

The community-based service is also for residents of Redbridge, Havering, but between 50 and 60 per cent of users will be from Barking and Dagenham where the condition is most prevalent.

At the weekend residents living and supporting family members with sickle cell and thalassaemia were recognised in a special event that also marked the launch of the service.

One of those receiving an award was Sickle Cell Society vice-secretary Shirley Cumberbatch who supports her son with the disease.

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She said: “Awareness of sickle cell is so important both in the NHS as a whole but also in schools, university and all sorts of other services.

“My son had a terrible time at school but after three years in college, he’s doing really well, supported by people who understand what sickle cell is like.

“We are hopeful this new service will help the NHS and other services recognise the issues people with sickle cell face.”