A CHARITY has hit out at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust after a specialist ward was moved “with no consultation or discussion”.

When 17-year-old Annette Fox died of leukaemia in 1980, a fund was set up by her parents Colin and Irene, as well as hospital staff and colleagues in her memory.

In 1993, a dedicated haematological unit - named the Annette Fox Haematology Unit - was built on Ward 7 at the Bradford Royal Infirmary and more than £2 million has been raised since the charity began in 1980 to help patients with haematology problems and also to aid hospital staff and support research.

But the fund has accused the Trust of acting insensitively over the move. A spokesperson admitted the initial consultation could have been “handled differently”, but said it had met with the chairman to provide assurances.

Jonathan Bentley, chairman of the Annette Fox Leukaemia Research Fund, said: “The closure of Ward 7 is the end of an era, one which many trustees and supporters feel has been handled in a very poor manner and insensitively by the Trust, with no consultation or discussion with the charity at all.

“One of complete disregard to the support provided over all of those years, not just financially, but voluntary hours of time given and the emotional ties for many patients and relatives.”

He said the charity has asked the Trust for assurances that the move to Ward 33 to provide patients with the same, if not better, standard of facilities and the Annette Fox name be assigned to the new location.

A spokesperson for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are surprised to hear of these concerns from the charity because although the initial consultation could have been handled differently we have since met with the chairman and provided assurances and a guided tour of the new facilities.

“We have also set aside a new space for the charity worker at the request of the charity and to the charity’s specifications, as well as agreeing that the new ward will continue to have the name of Annette Fox.

"We are hoping that this move is an opportunity for the Trust and the Annette Fox charity to strengthen our relationship so that we can work closely together in the future on further developments."

The spokesperson added: “The haematology unit move to a new ward in Bradford Royal Infirmary is part of a wide-ranging redevelopment and reconfiguration project to improve patient experience and safety and modernise facilities across our hospitals.

“The move will provide a better environment for patients and bring the haematology and oncology wards closer together, on the same level in BRI. These specialties have close links and the move will mean patients will be cared for in the most appropriate ward and speciality setting, as well as improving patient flow.

“Planning for this has also included both haematology and oncology day case activities being moved from their speciality ward-based setting to a new dedicated day case treatment centre on ward 16.

“The haematology unit will continue to offer exactly the same level of treatments and procedures – this is simply a ward move which is part of a bigger project to improve patients’ experience of being in our hospitals and raise the standard of care we offer. Staff on the unit are happy to talk to any patients or carers about the move.”