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The London Chest Cystic Fibrosis Unit Appeal

The Jack Turner Cystic Fibrosis Unit

Actress Jenny Agutter, being presented with flowers at the opening of the Jack Turner Cystic Fibrosis Unit at The London Chest Hospital
Actress Jenny Agutter, being presented with flowers at the opening of the Jack Turner Cystic Fibrosis Unit at The London Chest Hospital

A new unit specialising in the care and treatment of adult Cystic Fibrosis sufferers was officially opened by actress Jenny Agutter at The London Chest Hospital, Bethnal Green on 11 September 2003. The unit reflects major advances in the care and treatment of a condition which, in the past, rarely saw sufferers surviving past early childhood.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder which causes mucus in the body to be very sticky, which can lead to chest infections and lung damage and can affect the way food is used by the body. In 1964 the average life expectancy of a baby born with CF was only 5 years, whereas today it is 31 years. The dramatic increase in life expectancy in a relatively short period of time has led to a shortage of specialist facilities for adults and teenagers.

The London Chest Hospital has been a specialist centre for adult CF patients for the last 20 years, and now sees around 110 adults with the condition. CF patients are cared for by a multi-disciplinary team which includes specialist doctors and nurses, physiotherapists, a psychologist, dietician and pharmacist.

Dr Duncan Empey, respiratory medicine consultant and a specialist in Cystic Fibrosis, says, “The number of adults with Cystic Fibrosis has been growing rapidly over the past 15 years or so, thanks to advances in treatment of the condition which mean that CF sufferers are surviving much longer.

“While our patients have had access to the very best medical care, the environment and facilities we have so far been able to offer haven’t been designed to cater to the specific needs of the increasing numbers of adults we are seeing.

“With thanks to the very great generosity of the late Jack Turner, a former London Chest Hospital patient, and all those who have helped with our fundraising appeal, we have been able to address those needs and open the Jack Turner Cystic Fibrosis Unit.”

 “Up until now, our young adult patients have had the added pressure of being cared for in surroundings that don’t make this balancing act any easier - either in units designed for children, or standard adult wards which can be very restricting for a young person who needs regular hospitalisation.”

Day room in the new Cystic Fibrosis Unit at The London Chest where a bright, fresh and modern environment has been created for teenagers and young adults with cystic fibrosis
Day room in the new Cystic Fibrosis Unit at The London Chest where a bright, fresh and modern environment has been created for teenagers and young adults with cystic fibrosis

The Jack Turner Unit has been designed to be a ‘home from home’, with six beds in private rooms, a kitchen area and a lounge with a TV and computer with internet connection. The interior design has been overseen by Vital Arts, Barts and The London’s arts project, in consultation with patients who will use the unit.

Funding for the £600,000 unit came from charitable donations. A £400,000 legacy from former patient Jack Turner led to the decision to name the unit in his memory. Other donors include the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, The Morgan Stanley International Foundation , with the remainder coming from the London Chest Hospital fundraising activities.