New specialist sleep unit at Rugby's St Cross is cutting waiting times from one year to a few weeks

Friends volunteer Maurice Cassidy wearing some of the diagnostic equipment.
Friends volunteer Maurice Cassidy wearing some of the diagnostic equipment.

A new specialist service in Rugby is helping to diagnose and treat the 20 per cent or more of the adult population who suffer from sleep disorders.

The Hospital of St Cross is the first in Warwickshire, and one of only a handful in the country, to offer in-patient sleep services.

It helps treat conditions including sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, circadian rhythm sleep disorder and restless leg syndrome.

The new unit comprises two observation rooms where patients will stay overnight while staff monitor their brain activity, breathing and heart rates while they sleep.

As well as treating patients, it’s hoped the new unit can become a world-leading research centre to identify the causes of sleep disorders, and how to prevent them.

The unit was funded with a £169,000 investment from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, with additional support from the Friends of St Cross, which donated £80,000 for beds, equipment and support for the construction of the unit.

Michelle Goodlad, Principal Healthcare Scientist for UHCW, said: “If left untreated, sleep conditions can result in a growing number of health problems in addition to the well-publicised

dangers of drivers falling asleep at the wheel and causing accidents.

“Until now, patients in Warwickshire had to wait up to a year for diagnosis at specialist centres in Birmingham, Leicester or Cambridge.

“We can now book patients in within a few weeks and are starting to make appointments for patients in the surrounding counties.

“We will shortly be joining a number of national research programmes and aim to be recognised as a national centre of excellence for Sleep Studies.”

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said: “In 2014 the Friends helped to bring outpatient Sleep Apnoea diagnostic services to the Hospital of St Cross.

“We supplied additional equipment for this service a year later and understand that there are now some 2,000 patients who have benefited from this service.

“We have been most pleased to support the expansion of the service which places the Hospital of St Cross at the centre of the country’s delivery of diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.”