Terry Waite commented: “It was such a lovely surprise to be invited to open the new Lewisham Ambulatory Care Centre. I was due to open the Ravensbourne Block at University Hospital Lewisham in January 1987; however, my capture meant that I didn’t ever make it to the event. It’s a real honour to be invited to open this excellent facility, especially this year, as it marks 25 years since I was released from captivity in Beirut. This new facility will benefit so many people who are in need of specialist care ensuring they get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.”
The £1.2m Lewisham Ambulatory Care Centre has been developed as part of a major emergency care improvement programme by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. It provides early testing (such as X-Ray and ultrasound) for local people in an outpatient setting, with results reviewed by specialist consultants. This will help patients to get the treatment they need sooner, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and will reduce pressures on the hospital’s emergency department.
Elizabeth Butler, Chair of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Terry Waite to open this important new facility and it was wonderful for all the staff to meet him. We are very proud of our new ambulatory care centre and it was a pleasure to demonstrate how we are working with local people to improve services.”
Elizabeth Aitken, Medical Director, commented on the new centre: "The new ambulatory centre is part of a range of initiatives we are doing to improve services for patients requiring emergency treatment. The official opening today marks the culmination of many months of hard work supported by our patient user groups and our GP leads across Lewisham. With this centre we will aim to reduce waiting times for patients in our emergency department and allow more people to have their illness managed without needing a stay in hospital.”
Staffed by consultants, nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants, the centre comprises three consulting rooms, four trolley bays and ten bays with recliner chairs.
Terry Waite lives locally in Blackheath. In January 1987, he was taken hostage after travelling to Lebanon as an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury to try to secure the release of British hostage John McCarthy and other western captives.
Terry with the original 1987 plaque and the clinical team: