The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, centre, officially opening the new Croydon Health Services Emergency Department, with the families of Audrey Cross (left) and Hassima Fowle (right)
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Britain’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, officially opened Croydon University Hospital’s new Emergency Department today (20 May 2019).
The building cost more than £21million to construct and offers modern, high-quality facilities. It has been designed by our doctors and nurses to create the best environment in which to care for patients.
It first provided care on 2 December 2018, replacing the temporary Emergency Department, and now sees about 400 patients each day. Its three supporting GP Hubs in the community add another 300 patients to this, as they have urgent care GPs and nurses who can assess and treat minor injuries and illnesses.
In April the busy Emergency Department and GP Hubs together cared for 2,648 (16%) more patients than the previous April (latest monthly figures).
During his tour of the Department today, Mr Hancock said:
“I love the NHS and it is fantastic to see the hard work which dedicated staff at the Trust have put in to make this impressive Emergency Department a reality.
"It has been a pleasure today to meet the people who work tirelessly to make it run – the doctors, nurses, porters, managers, cleaners and many more – and to see first-hand how they are taking the NHS into the future.
"This modern, spacious facility is another step forward in giving the people of Croydon the best possible care, following recent innovations such as its three GP Hubs.
"And we are continuing to support their efforts through the Long Term Plan, which will be backed with an extra £33.9bn a year to help guarantee the future of our health service.”
Staff were overjoyed when Mr Hancock then unveiled a plaque in the department, celebrating two of their most beloved nursing colleagues who are sadly no longer with us – Hassina Fowle and Audrey Cross.
Hassina Fowle, a resident of Selsdon, was an incredibly popular and effective Senior Sister of the Emergency Department. Her retired husband Derek, son Richard and daughter Amanda have all worked in nursing at the Hospital. After coming to the UK from Trinidad in 1971, Hassina joined Croydon University Hospital (at the time called Mayday) in 1974 and met Derek during training that year. Despite being diagnosed with life-threatening ovarian cancer in 1997, then breast cancer, she continued working passionately at the hospital for as long as possible until ovarian cancer claimed her life (at age 64) in 2014.
Hassina’s husband Derek Fowle was at the unveiling with children Richard, Amanda and Sarah-Jane. He said:
“Hassina was a wonderful, cheerful wife and everything you could want in a nurse. She is still a huge and overwhelmingly positive presence in our lives. She loved working at the Hospital and was famous for her attention to detail, ensuring everything worked like clockwork. I believe she was impossible to hoodwink!
“Her strong drive to care continued outside of work and she was very involved in helping people in the community, solving problems and providing transport. Thousands of lives have been touched by her.”
“Towards the end of her life she kept fighting the ovarian cancer, which had spread to her lungs, so that she could see our son Richard qualify as a nurse. She continued holding on until our granddaughter Imogen was born, just six weeks before Hassina passed away. In her final days Hassina was unable to smile because of medication she was taking but, somehow, she still smiled when she held Imogen in her arms a final time. The next day she entered a coma. There are so many memories to cherish.”
Hassina’s daughter Amanda Fowle worked at Croydon’s Emergency Department for six years until earlier this month, walking in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a Junior Sister there. She said:
“We all loved our mother so much. Working here, I was inspired by how fresh she is in everyone’s memories. This lovely plaque is a testament to two wonderful women.
“Hassina went on holiday every year with many nurses who still work here. She would often bring delicious hot Trinidadian food into work as a treat too, which everyone loved.
“But most of all, here in the Hospital, she is remembered as a brilliant leader in a brilliant team.”
Audrey Cross, a resident of Fairlands Avenue in Thornton Heath, was a remarkable and loved Paediatric Junior Sister at the Emergency Department. She joined the Hospital in 1984 as an Auxiliary in our successful Maternity Department. Sadly she lost her battle with stomach cancer in 2015, at age 63.
Audrey’s husband Peter Cross was at the unveiling with daughter Natalie, son Simon and granddaughter Isla. He said:
“Friends at Audrey’s memorial described the huge void that she has left behind. At the same time, we always smile when we think about her. I probably shouldn’t say this about a clinician - but she was infectious!
“She relished her early career in maternity. Then, when her young nephew suffered a serious head injury, she wished she could help and discovered a new passion for emergency paediatric care. Using access courses, she got her qualifications and followed that path.
“She loved singing and had a magical way around young children. Being around babies gave her great joy too. This runs in the family, as our daughter Natalie photographs new-born babies professionally.
“I’m so proud of everything Audrey achieved in her life. This lovely plaque shows what a great influence she continues to be.”
Further information about the Emergency Department
The building is 30 percent bigger than our previous Emergency Department and offers many benefits including a dementia-friendly design and rooms with doors, rather than curtained cubicles, to increase privacy for patients.
There are two separate paediatric waiting areas - one for children under 12 and the other for adolescents - plus an outdoor space and nine paediatric patient rooms where they can receive care.
There are also two mental health liaison rooms offering private and appropriate spaces where nurses can assess people who need specialist care, plus a dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health liaison room.
In addition the Emergency Department building includes a new Urgent Treatment Centre with six consultation rooms and a treatment room where people with more minor ailments can be looked after by qualified staff.
We always urge residents to only go to our Emergency Department when absolutely necessary. For minor ailments you will get seen more quickly at a GP Hub or the pharmacist. If you need urgent care but are not sure where to go, dial 111 for advice. For general health advice and to find out where local health services are, residents can download the Health Help Now app and use NHS 111 online.