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ARCHIVE - RIP christine hartley/southport general infirmary
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Arrow ARCHIVE - RIP christine hartley/southport general infirmary - 18-10-2009, 18:04

Earlier on in may this year I visited the Christina Hartley Maternity Hospital and Southport & Formby Eye Unit following Meliorama and co's report(thankyou btw)

Just wanted to add this update and a bit of the history behind the hospital and southport general infirmary.

A Brief History of Southport General Infirmary

The early years
In March of 1825 a new charity was instituted for the provision of medical benefits for local handloom weavers as well as for “strangers”. That organisation used the Dispensary building completed two years earlier in Lord Street. Originally called the North Meols Local Dispensary, it developed into the Southport Infirmary and Dispensary and served until 1870.

On 5 March 1870, the foundation stone of the Southport Infirmary was laid in Virginia Street and it opened on 2 January 1871. The building provided accommodation for six male and six female patients and also had two spacious wards isolated for the reception of fever and infectious diseases. It also had a mortuary, a disinfecting house and its own laundry. In its first year it treated 115 inpatients and by 1894 this had risen to 219 inpatients, of which 30 were cases of infectious diseases. By 1876 there were increasing concerns over the inadequacy of the arrangements for infectious cases and it was decided to discontinue the infectious disease wards. Thereafter, the whole attention of the hospital was turned towards the treatment of accident and non-infectious medical cases.

Move to Scarisbrick New Road
Despite subsequent additions to the building, by 1892 it was felt that the Virginia Street Infirmary was no longer able to carry out its proper functions. Its bed compliment was insufficient to meet demands and the building was becoming unsafe. Following an appeal for a new Infirmary, the Scarisbrick family gave a five acre site on which the present Infirmary now stands. The foundation stone was laid on 27 October 1892 and it opened on 26 September 1895. The buildings were erected at a cost of £25,000 and there was accommodation for 60 patients in the men’s, women’s and children’s wards.

In 1899, following expansion of the district it served to include Ainsdale, the Infirmary amalgamated with The Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. The three years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War saw the building of a new ward and the opening of a new Massage Department and x-ray Department. During the War the provision of a further 120 beds for wounded soldiers necessitated the provision of a new anaesthetic room and Pathology Department in 1916. By 1918 a total of 1,173 wounded and invalided British soldiers had been seen at the hospital.

After the First World War
Over the next decade there were further developments including what might seem today as a rather strange Artificial Sunlight Department. One of the major developments on the site occurred in 1928 when Miss Christiana Hartley, JP proposed to present the town with a fully equipped Maternity Hospital. This was opened in May 1932, independent of the Infirmary, although the Board of the Infirmary provided the nursing, food, medicine, laundry and other requirements.

In June 1939 building began on a new Women’s Surgical Ward and, with the outbreak of war in September, 117 emergency beds were added to the 150 ordinary beds already in use. 1943 saw the start of the Appointments System for outpatients, and 173 wounded soldiers were admitted during the year. A new Rehabilitative Department was opened the following year.

The National Health Service
In the Infirmary’s silver jubilee year, plans were made for considerable extensions, including accommodation for an additional 178 beds. On 5 July 1948 the Infirmary ceased to be a voluntary hospital and passed into state control in the fledgling National Health Service. It was one of 14 hospitals under Liverpool Regional Hospital Board.

The 1950s and 60s saw further improvement and expansion of the hospital’s facilities. These included the provision of emergency lighting, a new Pharmacy, which allowed the increasingly busy Outpatient and Casualty Department to be separated into two distinct departments. In 1963 there were improvements and extensions to the theatre suite and a new mortuary refrigeration unit was built. In 1966 an automatic film processing unit was installed in the X-ray Department. In 1964, post-graduate courses for General Practitioners started.

The first half of the 1960s saw a thirty per cent increase in surgical work at the Infirmary and an increase of 20 per cent in all services at the hospital. The bed complement for 1966 was 104; by 1978 it had risen to 205.

circular ward rooms...

and now....

To see your world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, An eternity in an hour.
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