In 2014 a search was launched by the RW Provincial Grand Master to find a major project which Buckinghamshire Freemasons could support, the money coming from investments in the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation. The PGM’s goal was to find a project to the value of around £25,000 which would make a significant difference to the local community.
In response to this search, on February 22nd 2015 at the Provincial Cheque Presentation. VW Bro Mike Stimson presented a very special cheque for £21,300 to Scannappeal. This donation is for specialist portable equipment to assess, diagnose and treat babies with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). This will substantially improve the service by extending the number of clinics to more than one hospital site.
Scannappeal is a registered charity (no. 296291), independent of the NHS, which raises funds for life-saving equipment for hospitals and community health services in the Buckinghamshire area. Established in 1987, over £11m has been raised and one in four of the local population has used the equipment purchased. In the last year this numbered over 100,000 patients.
Scannappeal’s work is not to replace or purchase basic equipment which is the responsibility of the National Health Service. A fundraising project is agreed only if it will enable a new service for patients to be introduced or will bring about a significant improvement in an existing service. It is only for advanced equipment and does not include running or staffing costs.
The DDH Clinic treats babies living in Buckinghamshire and the immediate neighbouring parts of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire and Berkshire.
What is DDH
DDH is a range of disorders in which one or both hip joints are under-developed, including those that are dislocated and those that are unstable or ‘shallow’. All babies born in this country have their hips examined within 24 hours of birth by someone trained to look out for features of DDH.
If DDH is not diagnosed and treated early, it becomes more difficult, less-successful and more distressing to treat. A baby whose DDH is not treated in infancy is likely to need bony hip surgery as they become older, prolonged periods in a plaster cast, and may still develop early arthritis causing pain, disability and requiring a hip replacement in early adulthood.
Detection at Birth: all babies in whom dislocated hips are detected at birth are seen within two weeks by a Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon for scanning and treatment. At present, this is done once a week at a clinic at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, regardless of where the family lives.
Risk Factors: all babies who appear to have normal hips at birth, but who have risk factors (mostly breech presentation or a strong family history), are referred for a screening ultrasound scan by the radiology department (generally at Stoke Mandeville or Amersham Hospitals). Sometimes the scan shows a shallow, but not dislocated, hip and needs a follow-up scan after an interval to ensure that the hip is developing depth. All of these follow-up scans are currently done by a Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Other Indicators: all babies whose hips do not seem dislocated, but who have other signs that there may be a problem (eg asymmetric posture, foot deformity), are also reviewed by a Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, usually at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Treatment is with a special harness (Pavlik harness) which requires regular review with scans for approximately 12 weeks, usually at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. When picked up at this early stage, the treatment will result in completely normal hips in around 90% of babies.
Benefits for local patients
- A portable ultrasound machine will mean that DDH clinics can be held at more than one hospital site (currently Stoke Mandeville) as the consultant could also take the equipment to Wycombe and Amersham hospitals.
- All clinics would become ‘one-stop’ clinics as patients would not need an additional referral to the radiology department, which currently means a delay in diagnosis.
- A more local service for parents will be more convenient for parents and alleviate their concerns more quickly.
- For some families, the difficulties of getting to Stoke Mandeville Hospital may prevent them from attending an essential check, turning a wholly treatable condition into a painful, distressing condition with long-term disability.
- The additional probe will give better images of the condition in younger/smaller babies.
- The machine can also be used to more accurately guide Botox injections which can be used to improve muscle spasm in children with cerebral palsy. There is good evidence that the effectiveness is improved if injections are guided, rather than going by feel and anatomical knowledge.
Babies with DDH – the facts:
In the UK, approximately 1 in 1000 babies have DDH that requires treatment. Many more have risk factors that mean they have a greater than normal chance of having DDH, and therefore need screening by ultrasound. Other babies have signs suggestive of DDH but turn out to have normal hips.
In the Buckinghamshire area, approximately 500 babies a year who may need multiple scans will benefit from this new equipment.
Brethren none of this could be possible without your generosity over the years. The scanner has now been ordered and we are looking forward to seeing it in action and helping our community. We promise to give you updates on how the machine is affecting others.