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North Tyneside fundraiser embarks on latest challenge

A North Tyneside fundraiser has embarked on his latest challenge to raise money for the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Ivan Hollingsworth, 40, who lives in Whitley Bay, has raised more than £400,000 over the last five years for the Children's Heart Unit after his son, Sebastian, had surgery at the hospital in 2009.

He has now began his sixth coast-to-coast challenge to pay for specialist staff at the hospital's new £300,000 playroom.

Ivan and a team of riders, including staff from the Freeman Hospital, will cycle 140 miles from Whitehaven, in West Cumbria to Tynemouth.


Fundraisers talk of pride at new cancer treatment unit

A new £3m cancer treatment unit is saving lives and cutting treatment times in the North East. A radiotherapy machine at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle was partly paid for by money from local charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the Charlie Bear appeal and the Newcastle Healthcare Charity.

New radiotherapy system Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Some of the money was raised at a special celebration night at Sage Gateshead for Sir Bobby Robson. People who organised and took part on the night said they were delighted at the new radiotherapy equipment

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper said it was a fantastic facility the North East was fortunate to have.

The former Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw helped organise the Sage event and said he was delighted because the new treatment unit was a facility for everybody in the region.

“I know Bob would be fascinated by the technology in this unit and I’m so proud that our charity has helped make it happen.

“I sincerely hope everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Celebration night and all the many people who have organised their own events and activities feel the same sense of pride and achievement I do.

– Lady Elsie Robson

I feel so much better now - Chloe

Fourteen year old heart transplant patient Chloe Beaney has been describing how much difference her new heart has made to her.

Chloe has left the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for her home in Cramlington where she'll enjoy Christmas with her family. She spent six weeks in the Children's Heart Unit waiting for a heart to become available.

To hear Chloe's comments click below.

Heart girl Chloe - 'new heart is best Christmas gift'

Chloe Beaney, the 14-year-old girl who was given a new heart just over a fortnight ago, has given her first broadcast interview since she underwent the surgery.

Chloe, from Northumberland, was at the top of the transplant list before a donor heart was made available and she had the operation at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital at the end of November.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, as she continues her recovery in hospital, Chloe expressed her gratitude to the donor whose decision to sign up to the donor register has saved the 14 year old's life.

Watch Ruth Holliday's full report here:


Device to cut strokes trialled in North East

Patients in the North East are among the first to benefit from this device Credit: Boston Scientific

The latest technology for preventing strokes is being trialled at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital and Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital.

A device known as a Watchman will be implanted into patients at risk.

The Watchman works by preventing blood clots in the heart being pumped to the brain, and triggering a stroke. Once implanted, it becomes incorporated into the heart wall, holding any clots in the heart.

The Watchman is being trialled at ten centres throughout the UK, while the NHS gathers evidence on its effectiveness and cost.

The Watchman is being trialled at ten centres across the UK Credit: Boston Scientific

The device is designed as an alternative to blood thinning drugs, which are not suitable for all patients.

5,500 people have a stroke every year in the North East. This new treatment is an opportunity to bring down this number and ultimately to save lives."

– Dr David Crossland, Freeman Hospital cardiologist

Newcastle health bosses defend criticism of Leeds unit

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Bosses at the Freeman Hospital Children's Heart Unit in Newcastle have strongly defended the decision to submit a dossier of concerns about a rival unit as it battled for its future.

A report published today suggests some of the claims about treatment of young patients at the Leeds General Infirmary were unsubstantiated and could not be properly described as legitimate whistle-blowing.

The controversy over the heart unit was set against a background of concerns raised by surgeons in Newcastle about the care provided in Leeds.

An independent review found improvements have been made at Leeds General Infirmary, which temporarily closed last year due to fears over mortality rates.

But, the report was critical of the rivalry between heart surgeons at the two paediatric units whose futures were under threat.

The action I took was in the public interest, and if such circumstances arose, I would do the same again.

We have a duty of candour, we are here to provide the best possible National Health Service. That was our objective and it remains there today.

– Sir Len Fenwick, Chief Executive, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
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