Town’s new heart unit is opened

MP;s Lisa Nandy and Andy Burnham on a tour of the Coronary care unit with Dr Naqvi

MP;s Lisa Nandy and Andy Burnham on a tour of the Coronary care unit with Dr Naqvi

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A TWO year charity campaign to transform the face of Wigan’s CCU has culminated in the official opening of a new state-of-the-art unit.

The Heart Beat Appeal was set up in December 2009 by Dr Nayyar Naqvi, who has dedicated his life to treating the people of Wigan and this week it was officially opened, much to the delight of hospital staff, the public and the doctor himself.

The successful appeal was backed by our sister paper, the Wigan Observer.

Dr Naqvi’s efforts saw the first Cardiology Department opened in 1979 from a single room at Billinge Hospital and following the launch of the first Dr Naqvi’s Heart Fund a few years later the Coronary Care Unit was opened at Wigan Infirmary.

And until the new Heart Beat Appeal was launched two years ago staff and patients had remained in the old, run down unit.

But thanks to funding from the hospital Trust as well as from public donations work started to create the new CCU and it has been open to patients for many months.

Yesterday Dr Naqvi officially opened the unit in front of about 50 guests including the mayor, the borough’s MPs, the hospital’s Chief Executive Andrew Foster as well as other local dignitaries.

Guests got a tour of the new unit and see exactly what their money had been spent on.

The much loved doctor said: “Getting to this stage really has been a combined effort and I can’t thank the public, the staff and the Trust enough for their support in this project.”

He added: “When I first came to the borough patients with heart problems were sent to Wythenshawe for treatment and if ever there was a heart that was only functioning at 10 per cent, the normal amount being about 80 per cent, it was referred to as Wigan Heart Syndrome.”

The brand new CCU is now held up as a centre of excellence across the country and it is even used by other hospital Trusts across the North West, which send patients to Wigan for specialist treatment.

At the opening ceremony Andy Burnham MP said: “Dr Naqvi has made a massive contribution to this borough and we really are truly grateful for everything he has done for the borough. The fact that you came to our borough and have dedicated your life to the people here is amazing and we can’t thank you enough for that.”

Chief Executive of the Trust, Andrew Foster, said: “This new CCU is probably the best in the country, we have some fantastic, modern equipment.

“There is now a wonderful spacious environment here and everything has been thought about even down to the little things like the space around patients’ beds and even the colour co-ordinated bed sheets.

“The people of Wigan are very fortunate to have such a state-of-the-art facility and a lot of credit for that has to go to Dr Naqvi.”

Yvonne Fovargue, MP, said: “The new unit is fantastic but what is most impressive is seeing patients in it and see the evidence of how the new unit is saving lives every day.”