Hospital volunteers have handed over £13,000 to help patients suffering painful joint damage.

The Friends of St Luke’s raised the cash through their work in running the hospital’s public tea bars.

The money has bought 14 reclining chairs and an ultrasound trolley for the Horton Wing’s F4 ward as well as an aqua-chair for the hospital’s hydrotherapy pool and equipment which lets physiotherapists and occupational therapists measure a patient’s muscle resistance and grip.

Patients who will benefit from the new equipment will include those with rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus – an illness of the immune system.

Sister Suzanne Mitchell said: “Many of the patients we treat have rheumatoid arthritis and lupus which means they suffer from a lot of joint damage and many require lengthy spells on our day-care unit receiving intravenous infusions.

“We are very grateful to the Friends of St Luke’s for their equipment and assure them that our patients benefit greatly from all their donations.”

Consultant rheumatologist, Dr Helen McIver said: “The trolley has been a really useful addition to the ward as it means that we can bring the ultrasound machine to where the person is, which is more comfortable for our patients.”

In the summer, the volunteers bought a lawnmower for the St Luke’s gardeners while over recent years the Friends have made a contribution to providing equipment at the hospital. In 2011 they purchased a £12,000 scanner for the renal unit as well as contributing significantly to two new ultraviolet machines for the dermatology photo therapy day unit which were purchased jointly with the Foundation Trust.

The volunteers are always on the lookout for new members. Call Christine Heaton on (01274) 364309.