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Former Goodyear workers donate £50,000 for machines to help skin cancer patients in the Black Country

Kind-hearted former Goodyear workers have donated £50,000 for machines to help skin cancer patients in the Black Country.

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The ex-Goodyear workers and staff with the plaque which will be erected in recognition of the donation. ‘Team’-style line-up, from left: Barrie Malia, Cyril Barrett, Wayne Devaney, Sharon Deaney, Raymond Briggs, Alan Shields. Front, from left: Miriam Atikpo, staff nurse, Joanne Hale, healthcare assistant co-ordinator, Dr Richard Jerrom, Carla Francis, matron, and Karolina Zugaj, healthcare assistant Mohs co-ordinator

Members of the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund have generously donated £50,150 to buy two cryostat machines at the new £1.3m Mohs Centre at New Cross Hospital.

The machines are used to cut wafer thin microscope specimens from frozen skin cancer samples.

The new service, which is based on A31 and is part of the Black Country Provider Collaborative (BCPC), will treat up to 200 patients a year and welcomed its first patients at the end of September.

The ex-Goodyear staff with the plaque in front of the cryostat machine, from left: Raymond Briggs, Barrie Malia, Alan Shields, Cyril Barrett and Wayne Devaney, with Dr Richard Jerrom (right)

The BCPC is a partnership between The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

Using a specialised technique to remove high-risk skin cancers called Mohs micrographic surgery, staff ensure patients receive full treatment of their cancer under one roof – examination and diagnosis, complete removal of the tumour, and reconstruction.

This ensures patients receive a ‘gold standard’ form of treatment closer to home and results in better outcomes and higher satisfaction.

The facility welcomes adult patients with certain types of skin cancer at high-risk sites on the face or neck.

Using Mohs surgery, the cancer is carefully mapped as it is removed.

This technique carries a near 100 per cent success rate.

Dr Jerrom (left) with Cyril Barrett with the plaque in front of the cryostat machine

Ex-Goodyear workers were given a presentation on Mohs by Dr Richard Jerrom, consultant dermatologist at Walsall Healthcare and RWT, then given a guided tour of the centre.

“We were delighted to put on a presentation to the ex-Goodyear workers and to give them a guided tour of what we do,” said Dr Jerrom.

“We felt it was the least we could do to say thank you for their generosity in buying the two cryostat machines.

“These machines form a vital part of the work we do in analysing skin samples on site to ensure complete clearance of skin cancers, thus allowing us to provide the best possible care to our patients.”

The donation takes the total amount donated to RWT to nearly £500,000 since 2016 for various projects which have improved the care for patients, and will be the final one made by the ex-Goodyear workers before the fund is wound down.

Cyril Barrett, chair of the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund, had surgery at the trust to remove skin cancer for a growth on his forehead some years ago.

He said: “This is a fantastic facility that will benefit local patients and it adds to what we set out to do – create a proud, living legacy for local people.

“We have bought equipment here and right across the trust amounting to almost £500,000, and having spoken to staff, we felt this was a fitting project to wind down the fund.”

Amanda Winwood, charity development manager at The RWT Charity, said: “We’re delighted to receive this donation which will really benefit skin cancer patients right across the Black Country and we’re once again, very grateful to the ex-Goodyear workers for their generosity.”

The idea of the donation was the brainchild of Leanne Bood, BCPC project manager for skin and orthopaedics and former RWT charity development manager.

She said: “It’s been a honour and a privilege to have worked with the ex-Goodyear workers since 2016. In this time we successfully delivered on projects for the benefit of a variety of patient groups including dementia care, breast care, paediatrics, anaesthetics and the enhancement of training opportunities for staff, above and beyond that provided by the NHS.

“I was delighted to be able to work with the ex-members again on their final project, especially as Mohs will have an incredible impact on the treatment of skin cancer.”