Regular readers of this column will know that I take a keen interest in the quality of care at Croydon University Hospital (or Mayday as many still call it).
I recently visited the urgent care centre and emergency department, and was struck by the number of patients the department was dealing with and the frankly rather tired and unwelcoming environment.
I met with the chief executive of the trust to get his perspective, and he agreed that the current facilities are not fit for purpose, both in terms of capacity and design.
The current emergency department was built in the 1980s and designed to treat about 70,000 patients a year. It is currently treating around 120,000 patients a year. Every day, about 100 ambulances arrive at the department – more than at any other in south-west London.
And if nothing is done, the pressure on the department is only going to increase – Croydon has one of the fastest growing populations in London, projected to increase by seven per cent by 2021. We therefore desperately need a new department, both to cope with the volume of patients and to improve the care that patients receive, particularly children and those with mental health conditions.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust recently submitted a bid to the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) for £17.5million to build a new department.
I have written to the TDA in support of this bid and I will also be speaking to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. I hope my fellow Croydon MPs Sir Richard Ottaway and Steve Reed will do likewise.
A new emergency department will radically improve patient care in the borough, and I will be doing everything in my power to make the case for this investment. It is just one example of the improved infrastructure we need to cope with a growing population.
This column was first printed in the Croydon Advertiser on Friday 23rd May 2014