NHS data has revealed that Croydon Hospital’s waiting times were the second lowest compared to eight other London hospitals at the end of February.
When a major incident was declared in London in January, 94.5% of beds in Croydon Hospital were occupied, crossing the safety threshold of 92%, but waiting times at the end of February were still lower than other London hospitals such as Imperial College and Guys & St Thomas’s, which had more unoccupied beds than Croydon in January.
This is believed to be, in part, due to the creation of the Croydon Elective Centre, which was set up in July 2020 to see the backlog of patients waiting for diagnostic imaging, away from the main part of the hospital.
Chief operating officer Lee McPhail, 45, said: “One of our most positive developments has been the creation of the Croydon Elective Centre. We created it within the framework of infection prevention control.
“We acknowledged the validity of the anxieties that people had and tried to incorporate how we manage that anxiety into the design of the Croydon Elective Centre and that included things like controlled access to areas, separating our main theatres and the surgery complex.
“We effectively ring fenced part of the estate that the theatres and one of the surgical wards sits in so there’s very strictly controlled access into that area.”
McPhail explained that to keep the elective centre safe, patients are assessed and swabbed and then made to isolate for a number of days before coming in for surgery.
Hospital staff also work strictly within that designated zone as to prevent the potential of contamination.
McPhail added: “If you look at our activity numbers in February time when it was really difficult from a COVID perspective, we were still somewhere between 50% and 60% of our normal activity levels.
“Our backlog didn’t build up anywhere anywhere near the rate it did back in March and April last year.
“We’ve been importing long-wait patients from some of those other providers who don’t have the flexibility when it comes to capacity.
“There will be a wave three, we don’t know exactly what it looks like but we’ll start to prepare for that, meaning the Croydon Elective Centre as a model will continue to evolve.
“We’ve increased our use of tele-medicine in the community and we’ve been trying to innovate on how we use technology, and some of that’s been recognized.”
Croydon Hospital workers have been shortlisted for a national excellence award recognising innovative solutions in health care and on 26th May, a virtual ceremony will be held for ‘The Excellence in Patient Care Awards’.
McPhail said: “To make the nomination list is a great recognition.”