The Campaign to keep the Marguerite Hepton Orthopaedic Hospital Open
The photos and text printed here are from the original album compiled by Gabrielle Childe with the help of trade unionists Mike Harwood and Stuart Roden taken to The Ministry of Health in 1984
THE TRADE UNIONS OPPOSE THE TRANSFER OF ORTHOPAEDIC PATIENTS AT THE PRESENT TIME FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS.
a) That it takes no account of the effect on services to Leeds Western Health Authority patients.
b) That it makes less likely the rationalisation of orthopaedic services on an area wide basis, particularly the establishment on an elective orthopaedic unit, which the Trade Unions would see as an ideal option.
THE TRADE UNIONS OPPOSE THE CLOSURE AND SUBSEQUENT DISPOSAL OF THE SITE FOR THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS;
a) That it is against the policy of the present government as outlined in the booklet ‘Care in Action’.
b) That it is against the best interests of the people in Leeds to dispose of health care facilities, when there is an acknowledged shortage of health service beds and increasing waiting lists.
THE TRADE UNIONS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IF AN ELECTIVE ORTHOPAEDIC UNIT IS ESTABLISHED ON AN AREA BASIS, IT MAY BE AT SOME POINT IN TIME BE NECESSARY TO MOVE ORTHOPAEDIC PATIENTS FROM THE MARGUERITE HEPTON TO ANOTHER SITE IN THE LEEDS AREA. IN THAT EVENT WE PROPOSE THE FOLLOWING USES FOR THE HOSPITAL AND POSSIBLE SUGGESTIONS ON FINANCE;
a) That finance for the hospital could be achieved through a combination of existing monies and joint financing with the Local Authority.
b) That the hospital be used for ‘community purposes’. This to cover a wide range of services including the continuation of outpatient facilities.
c) That the Marguerite Hepton Hospital could be used for psycho – geriatric or geriatric services.
d) That the hospital could be used for convalescent purposes. These would be available on a district or city wide basis.
THE EXISTING STOCK OF HEALTH SERVICE BUILDINGS IS A NATIONAL RESOURCE WHICH SHOULD BE KEPT IN GOOD CONDITION AND ADAPTED TO PRESENT DAY NEEDS.
EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT THE USEFUL LIFE OF MANY OLD BUILDINGS CAN BE LENGTHENED BY UPGRADING AND EXTENSION.
THE GOVERNMENT FAVOURS SMALL LOCAL HOSPITALS SUPPORTING THE LARGE DISTRICT HOSPITALS.
IT IS MISLEADING TO REFER TO THE “ALTERNATIVE USE” OF THE MARGUERITE HEPTON HOSPITAL AS A COMMUNITY HOSPITAL. IT IS ALREADY IN PART FUNCTIONING AS A COMMUNITY HOSPITAL. IT PROVIDES PHYSIOTHERAPY, HYDROTHERAPY AND X – RAY SERVICES TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. THOUGHT SHOULD BE GIVEN TO WHAT IS ALREADY THERE UNTIL IT CAN BE FURTHER DEVELOPED.
a) Consulting rooms
b) Central office
c) Nurse’s Home
d) Operating Theatre
e) X – ray department (plus modern dark room)
f) Physiotherapy Department ( including hydrotherapy pool )
g) Three wards ( with doors directly outside to the gardens)
h) Occupational Therapy Department.
i) Dining and Canteen facilities
j) Modern Hospital Kitchen
k) Four semi detached houses
l) 24 acres of agricultural land
m) Daily visit by local GP and twenty four hours ‘on call’ duty cover
n) N Weekly visit by two consultants.
There can be no uniform pattern for a community hospital. Each must be designed to the needs of the locality; there might be an emphasis on geriatric care and rehabilitation but no need for a minor casualty unit. Alternatively, a market town might need ‘intermediate ‘casualty and minor surgical facilities.
The Marguerite Hepton Hospital is well maintained and is one of the most economically run hospitals in the Leeds Eastern District.
PHYSIOTHERAPY AND HYDROTHERAPY UNIT
“EVERY DISTRICT SHOULD PROVIDE ENOUGH SUITABLE ACCOMMODATION FOR THE CARE OF THE ELDERLY PEOPLE ESPECIALLY THE MOST VULNERABLE AND FRAIL.”
The number of people over seventy – five is increasing and those who need care have often been provided with unacceptably low standards of service, particularly in some aspects of long term care.
Health Authorities must make long term plans for health care in their district, with particular emphasis placed on care of the elderly. Whilst it is preferable to provide new purpose built accommodation for health care, the government recommend that existing health buildings be adapted to present day needs.
The Marguerite Hepton Orthopaedic Hospital is already partly serving the community and would need very little adaptation for use of the wards by Social Services.
THE MARGUERITE HEPTON HOSPITAL AS A PRE – CONVALESCENT AND/OR CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL
The object of convalescence is to provide a suitable environment in which the remedy effected by acute medicine and surgery can me completed and a transfer back to independence in the community assisted. This is an essential separate function of the health service which should be preserved.
The best place to convalesce is obviously at home, however, this can only be so if there is a satisfactory home environment in terms of comfort, physical facilities and supportive care. At the present time there are patients who are discharged prematurely due to the urgent need for an acute bed and before the medical social workers have investigated their home circumstances thoroughly. These investigations can take several weeks to complete, particularly with regard to the elderly, who often need a great deal of supportive care. This results in a patient being in an acute bed which would otherwise would have been used to reduce the waiting list for surgery.
It often takes several weeks to discharge a patient home from an acute ward because of circumstances, particularly where the severely disabled and the elderly are concerned.
Unhappily, there are some patients who cannot return home and have to wait for vacancies to occur, e.g. Part III accommodation or disabled person’s home.
The Marguerite Hepton Hospital could be ideally used for this purpose and on a more economical basis that a large technology hospital.
The Leeds Eastern Community Health Council stated at a Public Meeting that not only did they oppose the closure of The Marguerite Hepton Hospital but they felt that at an appropriate time when resources were made available the hospital should expand the services it already provides.
According to D.H.S.S. guidelines the district is already 30 beds short of its norm. If the Marguerite Hepton Hospital should close that would make a total of 77 beds as a shortfall for orthopaedics.
So far as ordinary x – rays are concerned it should be recognised that many patients are compelled to travel for long distances for an examination that could be easily and economically; for those and the state to be treated locally.
LEEDS WESTERN HEALTH AUTHORITY
The percentage of elective orthopaedic cases represents only 15% of total cases. The current waiting list, gained from the authorities own documents is 476 patients. (Effectively a seven year waiting list)
“We repeat that there are patients on this large waiting list who have waited seven years and anyone with a non – urgent remedial condition would face the likelihood of a delay of this order”. In agreement were;
E. B.Longton F.R.C.S F.F.Silk F.R.C.S
M.A.Nelson F.R.C.S M.J.Abberton F.R.C.S
LEEDS EASTERN HEALTH AUTHORITY
In the Eastern Health Authority the position regarding waiting lists is even worse. The figures obtained from the authority as at 31st October 1983 are 701 patients on the waiting list and 115 on the day ward list. That represents a total waiting list across the city of approximately 1300 patients in need of orthopaedic surgery.
1982 Pay and Prices
Cost per patient per day
St James University Hospital……………………………………….£67.31p
Marguerite Hepton Hospital……………………………………… £4o.98p
These figures were the latest available from the Leeds Eastern Health Authority on 12.6.84
This land is held by a farmer under a tenancy protected under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1948. It has been farmed by his family for over 30 years and he has no intention of willingly giving up possession. Apart from bad husbandry by the farmer, the only grounds on which he could be compulsorily be deprived of his tenancy would be id there was planning permission for development. Development of the land is not likely to be allowed. The Wetherby District Plan states:
“It is considered that this area of land should remain as open countryside in predominantly agricultural use and that development should normally be restricted to that appropriate to a rural area. As no expansion of Walton (adjacent village) into the countryside can be justified at present, the boundary to the rural land has been drawn closely round the village”.
The Marguerite Hepton Hospital closed in September 1985 following a hard fought battle. It became a nursing home for a comparatively short time before it was completely demolished to make way for a housing development.
Not even a memorial plaque to say it was there. Thankfully the trees on the drive remain, which enables me to say to my grandchildren “ See that third tree on the left? That is where the granddad you never met asked me to marry him.” The buildings may have been taken away but memories linger on.