It was a blisteringly warm summer’s day 25 years ago – staff recall- when Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal officially opened Westmorland General Hospital on 6 July 1992.
The £24million hospital opened its doors to patients in 1991 with many staff transferring over from the old Westmorland County and Kendal Green hospitals and Meathop Hospital near Grange-Over-Sands.
On Thursday 6 July 2017 we mark the anniversary of the official opening with a display of old photos and memorabilia in the Westmorland Bite Restaurant for all staff, patients, public, volunteers and partners to view and reminisce.
More than 30 staff from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) have worked at the Trust for 25 years. Karen Paylor, Clinical Leader for Day Surgery, UHMBT, trained at the old Westmorland County Hospital from 1981-1983 and came to WGH in 1991 as a staff nurse for Endoscopy and Day Surgery. She was one of the party that showed Princess Anne around the site. Karen said: “Princess Anne was really interested and complemented us on the lovely views we have of Kentmere and the castle. She was really interested in the Endoscopy department as many of her horses had endoscopy procedures. “The hospital had a really strong family feel to it from day one. Everyone knows each other and is willing to pull together to ensure patient care is of the highest standard.”
Amanda Iley, Head Chef, UHMBT, moved across to WGH from Westmorland County Hospital in December 1991. Amanda said: “I remember the day that Princess Anne came. There were police and dignitaries. It was really bustling and the atmosphere was great. There have been a lot of changes over the years in the NHS to what it was like then and what it is like now. We really do go above and beyond for the patients at WGH and nothing is too much trouble. It feels good that I have been here for 25 years and I have enjoyed working with all of the staff and patients.”
Today 412 UHMBT staff work at WGH. Services based at the hospital include:
• Breast Screening
• Chemotherapy Unit
• Ear, Nose and Throat
• Elective surgical services
• Midwifery–led maternity services (Helme Chase)
• Outpatient Services
• Radiology CPFT operates the Primary Care Assessment Unit (PCAS) which has 24 staff including nurses, clinical support workers and reception staff and sees around 22,000 patients a year.
It also operates: • Kentmere Ward • Older/Younger Adult Community Mental Health Team • Langdale North / South • Primary Care Assessment Service • Children’s Physical Health Team, Blackhall Unit • Specialist Dental Services
The site’s renal dialysis unit is operated by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “It is fantastic that Westmorland General Hospital has reached 25 years. It is heart-warming to that so many staff are still working at Westmorland General Hospital all these years later.”