A Sheffield MP was given first-hand experience of the challenges of having cystic fibrosis as he underwent some of the unpleasant treatments given to child sufferers.
Paul Blomfield, who represents Sheffield Central, joined charity the Cystic Fibrosis Trust at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital to heard more about the work of its specialist unit.
He tried out physiotherapy techniques which help clear the chest of mucus and a taster of the thick build-up drinks required to help patients retain weight because people with cystic fibrosis struggle to digest fats and nutrients from food.
Lynsey Beswick, from the trust, said children typically have to endure the ‘unpleasant’ mucus production physiotherapy twice a day for 20 minutes at a time, while the drinks are ‘particularly foul-tasting’.
During his visit, Mr Blomfield also spoke to parents of patients and doctors who work in the Cystic Fibrosis Unit.
There are currently around 150 patients who use the Sheffield unit. Service users are routinely segregated avoiding all contact with other people with cystic fibrosis to help avoid potentially fatal infections being passed between patients.
Dr Noreen West, consultant respiratory paediatrician at the hospital, said: “We hope through experiencing some of the tests and treatments children with CF have to cope with on a daily basis, Mr Blomfield has gained a greater insight into the lives of our patients.”
The median life expectancy for someone born with CF is 36 years old, although survival rates are improving. The trust has recently launched a campaign calling for improvements to lung transplant services, which many sufferers require.