YOUNG cystic fibrosis patients at Poole Hospital have been given a welcome distraction during their long stays on the respiratory ward.

Following an appeal by respiratory nurse specialist Nikki Lopez, John Lewis’s store at Branksome has donated a brand new PlayStation 3 and games.

“We wrote to a few local stores to see if there was any chance of donations to make our patients’ stay much easier,” she explained.

“They’re in for two weeks three or four times a year and are confined to their rooms because of the risk of infection.

“A lot of them are teenage boys. They get bored and if we can’t engage them in some sort of activity, they are likely to go home.”

Patient Rob Burrows, 22, said: “I come in every two to three months. It can be very boring at times. This will be something to do rather than sitting around.”

Cystic fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, affecting one in every 2,500 babies. Caused by a fault in the gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the body’s cells it affects the internal organs – especially the lungs and digestive system – by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus.

Consultant Dr Mark Allenby said patients used to be told they were unlikely to survive until adulthood, but with improved treatments, could now expect to reach 40 to 60, even without a lung transplant. “Gene therapy trials are going on at the moment, and there is genuine long-term hope for this condition.”

The ward would welcome further donations of games consoles, games and DVDs. All the patients are over 16.