A Fylde coast health trust has launched the first new Adult Cystic Fibrosis Service in the UK for 40 years.
The new service is a huge coup for the Fylde coast and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
People living with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Lancashire and Cumbria now have access to a highly-skilled team based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
At the launch of the service, special guests and senior clinicians, who had worked towards bringing the service to Blackpool for several years, said it was an enormous success for the town and for the North West.
CF is a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine.
Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections.
It’s great for me that the new service is in Blackpool, especially because I won’t have to travel all the way to Manchester
Emily Bonney, 18, from South Shore, who has CF and recently won a Gold Medal at the World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando in the US with ‘Team England Paracheer’, cut the cake and said she was delighted that the new service was based in the resort.
Emily, who is studying Health and Social Care at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “It’s great for me that the new service is in Blackpool, especially because I won’t have to travel all the way to Manchester.
“I was treated by the Paediatric CF Service at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and now I will be with the adult service. My consultants are Dr Saba and Dr Rowlands. I feel great health wise. I do eight hours of cheerleading practice every week. I love it.”
Tarek Saba, who leads the new CF service, said: “I’m elated. It has been so exciting seeing it all coming together after years of hard work and preparation.
“It will make such a difference to have it here in Blackpool. People who have CF often have to come for treatment every six weeks – sometimes for two-to three days per visit.”
Dr Ned Rowlands, a specialist CF consultant with the new service, said: “I’m delighted that our service has been launched. It’s something we have dreamed of for years.”
Prof Kevin Webb, from Manchester Adult CF Centre at University Hospitals of South Manchester, who set up the first service in the UK in 1982, said: “I think the Blackpool service is going to be a great success. It will be supported by us.”