Thursday, 23 July 2009

Budleigh Hospital Garden Party

Budleigh Salterton Hospital’s League of Friends will be celebrating the completion of building and improvement projects totaling £262,000 when they hold their annual garden party on Saturday 1 August.

The Arcadia Jazz Band playing a wide range of compositions, from traditional to mainstream, will be one of the major attractions of the afternoon and there will be a wide range of stalls at the event, which begins at 2.30 pm.

Above: Dr David Evans, Chairman of the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends, at the Public Hall Clubs and Societies event in March 2009

From its beginnings in March 1888, when it started life as Budleigh Salterton Cottage Hospital “for the benefit of poor persons suffering from accident or non-infectious disease, who cannot be properly attended to in their own homes,” the hospital has always been enthusiastically supported as one of the town’s good causes. One of the earliest benefactors was the Reverend James Boucher, who donated £525 to the building fund to help launch the project. The nearby Boucher Way is named after him.

Originally there was accommodation for six patients – eight in an emergency – but the hospital grew steadily in size and the provision of treatment over the years. The 40th annual report of 1928 noted that a total of 144 cases had been dealt with during the previous year, with 48 operations being performed. Ten years later the hospital saw the number of beds increased to 20, divided equally between men’s and women’s wards.

Further facilities were added over the years. A day unit was opened in June 1987, and in 1995 the hospital benefited from a £400,000 improvement scheme.

Two years later Budleigh Salterton Hospital was being threatened with closure. A report by the North and East Devon Health Authority concluded that community hospitals were effective only if they had a mimimum of 35 beds and served a population of between 35,000 and 50,000. A massive protest by Budleigh residents followed, and the hospital was saved. But the casualty unit was closed in 2003. Right: Budleigh Salterton Hospital today

Recent improvements for which the Hospital’s League of Friends have raised funds include a stroke unit (£142,000); a kitchen adapted for the disabled, a seminar room and refurbishment of the Gardener’s Cottage (£27,000); the Budleigh Salterton bus (£35,000); and refurbishment of the Nuttall and Jubilee Wards to provide an isolation ward and a palliative care ward (£57,000).

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