The challenge

The Blood Taking Department was one of the busiest units at St Cross.

Every weekday over 300 people attended the department; that’s well over 60,000 a year. This often led to an overcrowded waiting room and lengthy queues which sometimes extended out into the busy corridors.

To meet this demand, which results in a staggering 350,000 pathology tests in the laboratory, there were just four cubicles and they were separated from the waiting area by the hospital corridor that led to the day surgery suite.

Keeping waiting to a minimum was a daily challenge for the staff.


In 2014 the management team made some improvements to the way the department was run. These included

  • taking over consulting rooms when they are not in use,
  • opening the 'meet and greet' reception desk at 07:30 which means that patients can have a seat in the waiting room before the service commences  and
  • other temporary workarounds.

The long term solution

To resolve this daily headache the Friends of St Cross launched our DIAMOND JUBILEE APPEAL which underpinned a project to move the department to purpose built accommodation within the 'old Mulberry Ward', part of the main hospital  buildings at the Barby Road site.

The scheme provided 8 cubicles (double the present capacity) and this has greatly improved the “flow” and reduce waiting times. The cubicles are adjacent to the waiting area and the department has its own dedicated entrance.

There is a sensory cubicle designed for children which helps relax or distract them, and a waiting area for priority patients who may feel embarrassed by the being given precedence over those in the general waiting area.

In addition, the laboratory, that is used by the technicians and team management and admin team, has been relocated to the new area making it easier for the team to work together more effectively and efficiently.

We support the Blood Taking Team's ambition to make this the Best Blood Taking Unit in Warwickshire!


The cost

The initial estimate was that the project would cost approximately £100,000 and the Appeal was targeted at raising at least £60,000. We chose this target to chime with the 60 years of service given by The Friends and have agreed to under-write the difference from our reserves. Of course the more we raise the better we are placed to continue to make other donations or undertake projects which will help make a difference to the patient experience in Rugby.

The total cost borne by the Trust was over £400,000 and the Charity contributed £100,000 towards the refurbishment and a further £33,240 for the equipment in the new unit.


Why did the NHS not fund this?

This is a question the charity is often asked about any of our donations!

The simple answer is that the NHS simply cannot afford to do everything we and they would like - there is much coverage about this in the media - there is no bottomless pit of money for this or any of the other services that government and the tax payers can fund!

The Friends of St Cross have received donations from a grateful public ever since it was founded and are delighted to use these funds for this and other opportunities to make a difference and bring about a real improvement in patient facilities and experience.

The hospital management and staff are equally delighted at this support and give the project their full support which will enable them to provide a better patient service. 

What will happen to the space currently used by the Blood Taking Service

The old phlebotomy waiting room is part of plans being scoped out, in mid 2016, for the expansion of the Day Surgery Unit whilst the remaining 2 rooms will be put to good use later on in 2016 with the planned expansion of the Haematology clinics.