It’s time to bring back Croydon University Hospital radio

By - Friday 11th March, 2016

It’s much missed, says Keithanthony Taylor, and helps keep patients connected to the community around them

Hospital radio is a fine tradition. It has been found to be beneficial to patients, lifting their mood and accelerating recovery. There are hundreds of hospital radio stations in the UK, almost all of which are members of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA). Hospital radio stations are usually staffed and managed by volunteers. The first unit in the United Kingdom was installed at York County Hospital in 1925 which means that it has now been running in the UK for ninety years.

Our own Croydon University Hospital radio, known as ‘Radio Mayday,’ ran for more than forty years. This is a testament to all of the volunteers who put so much effort into it. We particularly remember Radio Mayday chairman, David March, who tragically lost his life in an accident in Snowdonia in 2013.

Thoughout their history, dedicated hospital radio stations have greatly improved the lives of patients, but Radio Mayday was was forced to cease broadcasting in October 2014 when its contract with Hospedia, suppliers of analogue bed side play-out units, came to an end.

I believe that now is the time to bring Croydon’s hospital radio up to date. I want to see it return to the wards, bigger and better than before, using audio, video, and a website to connect the devices of patients, families, and staff with a fabulous multimedia experience that can be broadcast not only to patients but also to families and staff, supported by advertising and sponsorship.

Hospital radio can play a vital role in patient recovery

I joined the Radio Mayday team myself only five years ago. As someone who has been treated for a serious medical condition at CUH, I’ve been proud and delighted to see the hospital trust making significant improvements to patient care and feel proud to have been involved during these last few years.

However, I believe that it is our duty as a community to restore hospital media to CUH patients as a vital and urgently needed part of their recovery. I want to see this done with the aid of the community and the support of local businesses to finance a new modern studio. Croydon’s hospital radio has now been off-air for sixteen months and I am concerned that the longer that this closure continues, the less likely it is that this wonderful service will ever be restored.

People enjoy feeling connected to what is local

I know that there are those who will say that the internet and smart phones mean that hospital radio has had its day, but I have a different vision. I believe that people enjoy feeling connected to what is local, and that a community service that’s varied and entertaining will find an audience: this can be seen in Croydon and many other areas through the success of local publications and blogs. If broadcasters are prepared to provide a rich patient experience and win over an audience, I am sure that our local hospital radio would find success among patients, their families, and staff.

Croydon has amazing resources: to give just one example, we are down the road from the Brit School and I envisage an opportunity for its students to gain practical broadcasting experience.

Hospital radio should have an ‘open door’ policy for patients, families, and staff so that it can become the positive voice for the whole hospital. Right now, that is my personal vision and I would like to invite the community of Croydon to share it. We need financial backing from the hospital, the community, and local businesses to make the media experience that patients deserve a reality. Anyone willing to help can telephone me 020 8664 9595.

Keithanthony Taylor

Keithanthony Taylor

Keithanthony has lived in Croydon for 34 years and hosts weekly Radio interviews on an Atlanta Georgia Soul/Reggae show, Broadcasts Local Hospital Radio and Radio Mayday at Croydon Hospital. He also practices a as a Master Hypnotist having formed an interest aged 12. He also has worked as a designer in electronics & aviation, as a sales trainer for Encyclopedia Britannica, in the life and pensions industry, Private Ambulance Service, car & motorcycle instructor, even Golf Club bar man.

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  • Anne Giles

    Wonderful idea. When I worked at the London Hospital in Whitechapel we had radio and my then folk group played music on it a couple of times.

  • Keithanthony

    That sounds great Ann Giles why did your folk group disband?

  • Iain Elsey

    Hospital Radio should be available on all available platforms (e.g. Internet and Smartphones and the bedside patient entertainment system). This would give both staff, friends, family, those patients unable to access a patient bedside entertainment system, former patients and those choosing to use their equipment the opportunity to hear the programmes of Radio Mayday… an audience not previously severed. However, the majority of patients in any general hospital are older and from my experience working in hospital radio, they rely wholly the bedside patient entertainment system and you mention that the contract between Croydon Health Services NHS Trust and Hospedia came to an end in October 2014 and presumably the bedside terminals were removed? Therefore a lot patients would actually be deprived of their hospital radio service. But maybe that is better than not having any service at all. It is also good to have the hospital 100% on-board and involved – as they would have a lot to benefit from it too.

  • Bewildered

    Radio Mayday was a long standing, award winning, quality radio station. Sad to also hear more recently that the local community radio station, Croydon Radio, has also closed. The “patient end” of the service can be the hardest to resolve, but I’ve been very involved in establishing a new hospital station for Barts Hospital over the last year, and it is possible to reverse the sad decline of hospital radio, and it costs less than you’d imagine. I also run East London Radio, a community talk station other side of town. I was born in Mayday Hospital and grew up in Croydon, so have a “soft spot” for the place. If anyone in “CR0″ needs radio help, let me know.

  • Bewildered

    Is there any update on this? Having been born at Mayday, and had strong family association with Mayday, I was saddened to hear the Radio station closed. I have volunteered at several other hospital radio stations in London for the past 35 yrs

    • Bewildered

      Please email me – with any update