Local people to receive faster diagnosis thanks to couple’s generous gift

Published: 26 July 2023

Last weekend (22 and 23 July), Torbay Hospital’s endoscopy unit was able to carry out an additional 60 tests thanks to a local couple’s generous donation.

For these 60 local people waiting for diagnostic tests, which may potentially indicate gastro-intestinal cancer, the donation meant a reduced waiting time and faster diagnosis. For people undergoing medical investigations such as diagnostic endoscopy, a faster diagnosis leads to quicker treatment. This makes a significant difference to outcomes.

Lord Julian and Lady Jan Darling, who live near Bishopsteignton, gave the significant gift to the Torbay and South Devon NHS Charity, a charity that funds initiatives and equipment to improve and enhance patient care locally.

Lord and Lady Darling were inspired to give after seeing singer Rod Stewart generously fund MRI scans in an effort to reduce down waiting times. Their donation was enough to fund two full days of running the endoscopy unit.

Lord Darling explained their reasons for making the donation: “Recently, we were so impressed with the same-day treatment we received at Torbay Hospital, and inspired by a press article about Rod Stewart’s pledge to fund a day’s worth of scans at his local Essex hospital, we felt compelled to match his offer at Torbay.

“We are delighted that this clinic took place with NHS members of staff giving up their weekend to make this happen.”

Dr James Neale, consultant gastroenterologist, explained the impact of Lord Darling’s donation: “Rapid diagnosis of gastro-intestinal cancers are vital for improved outcomes. Lord Darling’s support will ensure the people who are classed as most urgently requiring investigation will be seen earlier. This will help to also bring down the wait time for those classed as less urgent cases.

“I can’t overstate the potential impact of Lord Darling’s support; by enabling us to diagnose and treat patients sooner, this could make a significant difference to their outcome.”

Torbay Hospital’s endoscopy unit carries out a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, for both outpatients and inpatients.

The hospital has recently acquired a mobile endoscopy unit and this is also helping achieve faster diagnosis for lower and upper gastro-intestinal cancers.