The Diamond Jubilee Appeal has been an outstanding success!

 Two of the Trustees of the Charity recently received a cheque for £1,312 at the AGM of the Union of Catholic Mothers in Bilton.  The ladies had committed to raise money for the Appeal at their AGM in February 2015 and since then they organised various activities including a bingo evening and a mince pie evening, both of which were open to all in the parish.

This was the last of the monies pledged for the Diamond Jubilee Appeal and the Treasurer reported to the Board on Monday that the total raised for the Appeal was an amazing £128,038 - more than double the original target of £60,000!

The Board also heard that the Friends Blood Taking unit has been hailed as an outstanding success with praise coming from patients and staff. Since the new unit became operational on the 14th of December there has been a significant difference to the patient experience.

The staff are enjoying working in a much improved facility and have delivered a reduction in patient waiting times whilst coping with an increase in demand. Compared with October and November last year attendance in January and February is up 28% (from 287 per day to 368) and the percentage of patients who have had their blood taken within 15 minutes of registration has gone up from 53% to 72%!

This has been a great team effort with the Trust funding the major building works, the Friends donating £100,000 towards the internal refurbishment and a further £33,241  for the new equipment used in the unit and of course the staff themselves who have adapted to new ways of working enabled by the project.

A feature of the new facility is the Sensory Cubicle where nervous patients are helped to relax with a light show and a range of other equipment.  A letter received not long after the unit opened says it all! “I would like to send a big thank you to the nurses at the blood taking unit at St Cross. I visited on [a] Friday afternoon with my 8 year old daughter who was extremely nervous about the procedure. The nurses were amazing and caring and the sensory room really helped to make her experience a positive one.”

Michelle Giles, Senior Phlebotomist at the new Friends Blood Taking Unit, said: "The team were so excited to start in the new unit and are really happy with the way it is working.  We've had lots of really positive feedback from patients, and it's also better for our staff too, with a new lab and staff area. I'd like to thank the Friends of St Cross, and everyone involved in creating the new unit, for their hard work to make it a reality."

Willy Goldschmidt, Vice Chairman of the Friends, said "All of the Trustees have enjoyed working with Michelle on the project. Her enthusiasm is infectious and we are confident that the service is in excellent hands. We are also grateful for Michelle's support for the Appeal at various coffee mornings and taking part in the Jingle Jog as well as negotiating some great discounts for the equipment we bought for the new unit. She is a real star!"

“We understand that there are plans in place to improve the car parking facilities and that the team are looking at options to introduce an appointment system, which could help smooth out the busy periods. There may even be some extended opening hours in the not too distant future. We look forward to hearing further updates from the Trust. Meanwhile we are delighted with the success already achieved and look forward to supporting the Hospital and the local Community Services with other projects for the foreseeable future.”

Additional patient quotations – posted on Facebook

•         “A little wait to register but a much nicer environment altogether. As usual a very pleasant member of staff taking the blood. …. Well done everyone involved in setting up and operating this service.”

•        “It's also great to see one of the older parts of the hospital being brought back into use with a complete revamp.”

•        “I visited the new phlebotomy department at St Cross today. Very bright and shiny. A nice bit of technology also means that we are no longer referred to by number! Well done to all those who were responsible for making it happen.”

•        “A big thank you to staff at St. Cross Blood Dept. I walked in the girl on the computer took my details... take a seat in the waiting room she said... I went in and the nurse called my name before I had even reached the seats to sit down. Great !! I said what a better atmosphere here for you and your patients she said 100% you’re right. Thank you again to all Staff if any read this post. I was in and out in 5 minutes” 


UCM cheque presentation– by Bob Mercer L-R: Willy Goldschmidt, Vice Chairman of the Friends, Heather Green, Chairperson of the Friends, Sue Leary President of the Union of Catholic Mothers

Staff met in the unit before it opened

Inside the sensory cubicle.