Over the past year local charity, Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital, have gone above and beyond to raise money for large scale projects, including one which has seen the hospital benefit from new air conditioning technology.

This important infrastructure upgrade, solely funded by charity, involved the installation of air conditioning units costing a huge £60,000. The air conditioning units aid in the prevention of contamination and cross-contamination by maintaining good indoor air quality, which is important in preventing hospital-acquired infections. They also function as heaters in the winter, which has been welcomed by all as the colder weather is upon us.

The first phase of the project was completed in the summer with the air conditioning units installed in reception, assessment and treatment rooms within the hospital’s Minor Injury Unit. The second phase of works saw air conditioning units installed in ward areas and patient rooms, with the last unit installed in the podiatry unit at the beginning of October.

Helen Denton, Chair of Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital, said “This is a really exciting development, and I would like to thank the staff and the patients at Caterham Dene for their co-operation and understanding while all the installation work was in process, especially when patients had to be moved out of rooms ahead of the units being installed and with all the extra work that was involved because of Covid-19 restrictions.”

Caterham Dene Hospital is an old, but much loved and used facility within the community which has an ongoing programme of essential upgrade work being undertaken. Another exciting project involved the replacement of existing cabling and aerial systems for TVs in the hospital to work with new digital and high-resolution technology.

With the ongoing financial pressures that the NHS face, this type of work was considered non-essential, so First Community Health and Care who are tenants within the building, approached the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital to see if they would be able to fund the project.

To First Community’s delight, the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital agreed to fund the project costing over £6,000, giving patients access to much needed TV entertainment while they recovered in hospital.

Helen Denton continued: “During lockdown, when patients were so isolated in their rooms with no visitors, we realised how important communication via a TV was for them. With only a few portable TVs for all the patients to share and a bad quality signal, we decided to supply and install five new large smart TVs as well as a new cabling and aerial system.

“Over the last 10 years, we’re proud that the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital have donated over £300,000 for clinical and diagnostic equipment, ensuring staff have the best equipment available to help and care for their patients.”

The Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital also support the hospital on a daily basis providing newspapers, slippers, socks and toiletries for the ward, equipment for the physiotherapy departments, and cases of hand cream for the staff which were gratefully received during the pandemic.With a loyal membership base of over 575 people and 25 active volunteers, they hold many fundraising events throughout the year, as well as receiving Gift Aid Tax, bequests, and donations instead of funeral flowers. A shop within Caterham Dene Hospital is manned by volunteers throughout the week, selling many craft items and donated gifts.

Lee Davies, First Community’s Associate Director for Un-Scheduled Care added: “We sincerely thank the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital for funding these major improvement works over the last year. Their generous support has really improved the experience for our patients while they recover in hospital – from the day-to-day newspaper deliveries to being able to watch something they enjoy on TV really makes a difference, and without the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital, none of this would have been possible.

“It’s also provided a positive boost for our frontline staff who have been under such pressures over the last year. The support from the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital is just incredible and we’re so grateful for everything they do to support our hospital.”

First Community’s Caterham Dene Hospital offers a Minor Injury Unit available seven days a week from 8am – 8pm providing NHS care for people with minor injuries that cannot be managed by a GP or practice nurse. It also has a 28 bedded inpatient ward for people aged over 18 requiring a period of rehabilitation following an illness or injury.

The Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital became a registered charity in 1948, following the formation of the NHS, aiming to provide additional funds for equipment and help improve facilities at the hospital. They are always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising. If you’d be interested in joining the charity to help develop facilities at Caterham Dene Hospital, you can join for a small membership fee of £10 per year. Please contact chair@focdh.co.uk and membership@focdh.co.uk or visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/focdh