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Hartismere Hospital’s history remembered at 70th anniversary celebrations for NHS

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Staff at Hartismere Hospital celebrated 70 years of the NHS. PICTURE: Mecha Morton.
Staff at Hartismere Hospital celebrated 70 years of the NHS. PICTURE: Mecha Morton.

Moments in Hartismere Hospital’s history were remembered at celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.

A tea party to mark the milestone was held at the hospital, organised by the League of Friends.

It was well supported by past and present medical staff, local organisations and residents.

The mayor of Eye, Nick Robins, attended, as well as Suffolk county councillor Guy McGregor, Mid Suffolk district councillor Michael Burke, and the chairman of the Patient Participation group, Tim White.

Mr Burke is also the vice-chairman of the League of Friends and his parents were secretary and matron of the hospital in the 1950s.

At that time, Mr Burke said Hartismere was a thriving geriatric hospital with four wards, around 142 beds and a maternity unit.

Later, in the 1960s, two new wings were added, offering day wards,

At that time, the main geriatric consultant, Dr John Agate, proclaimed that Eye had one of the ‘finest geriatric hospitals in the country’.

Sadly, by 2007, all services were community-based and the hospital was closed to in-patients.

After a major refurbishment, it was re-opened in 2012 but, since then, the birthing unit and complementary medicine centre have closed and the building was under-utilised,

“Despite several discussions with the NHS, we have not seen any progress in attracting new clinics to Eye,” said Mr Burke.

“I personally believe that, with a bit of planning, the people of Eye and district, including over the border in Diss, could have many more facilities here and an awful lot of travelling and time could be saved for patients in the area.

“Hopefully, the next 70 years will see Hartismere once again playing a major role in the lives of the local community here in North Suffolk and South Norfolk.”

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