Construction of a new medical unit at Croydon University Hospital has begun.

Bosses at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which run the hospital, hope the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) will take pressure off the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department, help reduce waiting times and ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Disused wards in the London wing will undergo a complete refit as part of the £1.2 project, which is expected to be completed in autumn this year.

Medical director Tony Newman-Sanders says, “As a Trust, we are always looking to improve the care we provide for local people. "By introducing the AMU, we will be able to make sure they get access to the right tests and intervention when they most need it.

“It will be a much better environment for patients and their families than the current Medical Assessment Unit, which is in the old Woodcroft Wing.

"It will also provide a much more appropriate setting for patients who have been referred by their GP, who at the moment need to go through the A and E department.”

The unit is designed to deal with people suffering from conditions such as pneumonia, cardiac and respiratory problems, repeated falls and diabetic emergencies and will assess whether the patient needs further investigation.

It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and run by eight consultants supported by doctors, nurses, therapists, social services and other healthcare staff.

The news comes a week after an appeal was launched to raise £5,000 towards the cost of 35 defibrillators to be placed across Croydon in places such as GP and dental surgeries.

Croydon British Heart Foundation fundraising volunteer manager, Joanne Howe said: "Having more defibrillators available locally for these emergencies is crucial to saving more lives.

"I hope the community in Croydon will support this appeal and maybe do their own fundraising to help raise money."

The improving outcomes campaign hopes to place a total of 200 devices across the borough over the next two years.

To find out about how you can help call fundraising volunteer manager Joanne Howe on 07711195746 or 01474 537 997.