Sunday, 24 February 2013

A story of Stoke Mandeville Hospital

This is a story about my local hospital. Well, its more of a history than a story.

It is quite well known.  Famous almost.  The original hospital, built in 1940 for casualties from the war, consisted of two long corridors of pre-fabricated wooden huts. It was not meant to last long.  My father-in-law tells the story of coming out to the site as a quantity surveyor to cost a tender for building it. (They did not get the tender.) It was green field site then, outside the small market town of Aylesbury. 

Those original wooden wards stayed with us until the new PFI funded hospital was built recently.  There were miles of corridors and there had to be two 'crash teams' as it took so long to get to the wards in an emergency.

I can see the hospital from my house.  I have been a patient there and I even worked there for a while.   I was a patient on the famous wooden wards.  When I was on the local Community Health Council we campaigned for years for a new hospital.  We were pleased when the new one was built.  Little did we know of the consequences of the way it was funded.

So this is our hospital and we are proud of it.  It is Stoke Mandeville Hospital. 

You have probably heard of it. 

In 1944 Ludwig Gutttman came to work here and created a new way of treating patients with spinal injuries. An amazing man!

In 948 the first Stoke Mandeville Games were held and in 1952 they became the international games. Thus was born the Paralympic movement.

The National Spinal injuries Centre (NSIC) moved into a purpose built building in 1983.  One of the chief fundraisers for this great facility was Jimmy Savile.  This is another reason the hospital is famous as it is currently in the middle of an investigation into his activities while associated with the hospital.

The hospital has had more than its fair share of scandals. 

In 2001 the Chief Executive and Chairman resigned because the Waiting Lists were fiddled. 

In 2003 and again in 2005 it was at the centre of the hospital acquired infection outbreaks when over 30 people died in two C. Diff outbreaks.

Now, in 2013, it is one of the nine hospitals being investigated by the Department of health for high mortality rates.

Is it an unsafe hospital?  In the next blog I will write about the recent history of this famous hospital.

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