|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
Thames Ditton Hospital
Weston Green Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0HY
|1894 - 1986
Acute. Later, G.P.
The Thames Ditton Cottage Hospital opened in 1894 to serve the populations of The Dittons, Esher and Claygate. The Lord of the Manor of Weston, Hannibal Speer (1826-1915), had been instrumental in its founding and had donated the plot of land opposite Milbourne's Pond in Weston Green Road.
The Hospital was enlarged in 1911 and then had two wards - one male and one female, each with 4 beds and a cot.
During the 1920s the Hospital received many gifts from local residents - a wheelchair, a bedstead, surgical appliances and nursing requisites, an armchair and couch, cushions, a dressing gown, linen, china, glassware, toys (including a kaleidoscope), gramophone records, books and magazines, tickets for entertainments, flowers and plants, groceries, milk, butter, eggs, poultry, fruit and nuts, jam, cakes, cordials, tea, mineral water, and a collection of silver paper. At Christmas time, donations included turkeys and ducks, hare and other game, pork, champagne, whisky, cigarettes, fruit, jam, sweets, evergreens, crackers and Christmas pudding. In 1926 a wireless set (radio) with two loudspeakers and 9 sets of earphones were installed in the wards, a gift provided by Mr and Mrs James Atkinson.
In 1926 the average weekly cost of an in-patient in a public ward was about £3, but patients were expected to contribute 2 guineas (£2.10) towards their keep. If they were unable to do so, they were obliged to pay as much as they could. A private room was available for 3 guineas (£3.15) a week.
By the end of the 1920s the Hospital was in need of modernisation. The Committee recognised the need to increase private patient accommodation (with a view to increasing its income) and the need to acquire an X-ray apparatus. More experienced nursing staff were also required. Cottages adjacent to the Hospital had been purchased for future enlargement, but were occupied by longstanding tenants. The Committee felt it was unable to take possession of the cottages until housing conditions became easier.
In 1938 it dropped the word 'Cottage' from its title.
In 1939, just before the outbreak of WW2, a new wing was completed. It had cost £4,000 to build and contained bedrooms for nurses and a Recreation Room.
When war was declared, the Hospital joined the Emergency Medical Service. All the beds were kept free for the first 9 weeks of the war, but then admissions resumed as normal. The Nurses' Recreation Room was taken over by the Borough Council for use as a First Aid Room. The old Nurses' Sitting Room was enlarged and made into a Gas Cleansing (decontamination) station.
In 1940 the Hospital had 10 beds, 2 cots and 4 private patient beds. 12 beds were occupied on average throughout the year. There was a small operating theatre, but no Out-Patients Department. Casualties were treated in any room that was available.
After the war, the Hospital Committee wished to make the Gas Cleansing station into a theatre unit at a cost of £2,500. While funding for this was not a problem, the Ministry of Health disapproved.
The Hospital joined the NHS in 1948 under the control of the Kingston and Long Grove Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
By 1954 it had become a G.P. hospital with 16 beds in two small wards - one for male patients and one for female. A consultant surgeon and a consultant gynaecologist visited. By this time the Hospital had an operating theatre, an Out-Patients Department, a small X-ray room (Matron took the X-rays), a Physiotherapy Department and a Casualty Department for minor injuries (not road traffic accidents).
In 1957 the Visiting Committee of the King's Fund found the wards rather poky and unsatisfactory, as were the sanitary annexes. Some 40 operations a month were performed, but patients had to be anaesthetised in a room adjacent to the operating theatre, which was also used by the surgeon to scrub up and by the nurses to sterilise the instruments.
The Hospital was enlarged in 1958 at a cost of £5,160. The wartime Decontamination Centre was finally converted into a new operating suite and was opened by Lady Brain in April 1958.
In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the administration of the Kingston and Richmond District Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.
In 1982, after another major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital joined the Kingston and Esher District Health Authority.
Despite vigorous protests by the local population, it closed in 1986 due to financial restraints within the NHS.
In 1999 a new Thames Ditton Community Hospital opened in the Emberbrook Care Centre (see below).
Present status (May 2008)
The Hospital buildings are still in health care use as part of the NHS. The left-hand building, with the foundation stone embedded in the front wall, has become Ditton House, a care home for patients with learning difficulties. The right-hand building is the Weston Green Resource Centre, a drop-in centre providing therapy for people with learning difficulties.
Update: December 2013
In 2009 the Kingston NHS Trust sold the vacant Hospital buildings and the land.
In 2011 Goldcrest Land (UK) Ltd applied for planning permission to convert Ditton House into a residential property and to build eight new homes on the site of the Weston Green Resource Centre and Elmbridge Lodge (a care home within the complex). Permission was refused, despite an appeal by the company in 2011.
In 2012 a new application was filed and permission for redevelopment of the site was granted by Elmbridge Borough Council.
The former Hospital.
Ditton House, the original Cottage Hospital building, with extensions to the south.
Ditton House was built in 1893. The foundation stone is mounted on the right-hand side of the building between the upper and lower windows.
The foundation stone.
The Weston Green Resource Centre.
|The Emberbrook Care Centre
In the mid 1990s a 2-acre site off Giggs Hill Green was purchased under a PFI deal by Primary Medical Properties for a new Health Centre and nursing home. The site would contain the Emberbrook Community Clinic for Health (with GP surgeries and health care facilities) and the Emberbrook Care Centre, which would include a 14-bedded NHS ward for patients requiring rehabilitation and respite care, next to, but separate from, the Care Centre. Commissioned by the East Surrey Health Authority, it would constitute the Thames Ditton Community Hospital replacing the Thames Ditton Hospital which had closed in 1986 (the Cmmunity Hospital was later renamed the George Tickler Wing).
In 1999 the Emberbrook Care Centre opened as a collaboration between Bettercare (an independent company), Primary Medical Properties and the Kingston and District Community NHS Trust. In the event, only 6 of the 14 beds for NHS patients were commissioned.
In 2002, after a restructuring of the NHS, the arrangement came under the control of the East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey (EEMS) Primary Care Trust. The number of beds was reduced to 4, and would have been none in 2004 had there not been great opposition to this from the local MP Ian Taylor, the local County and Borough Councillors and the Health Select Committee of Surrey County Council.
The Emberbrook Care Home is now run by Four Seasons Health Care, with the NHS having the option of commissioning a number of beds in the George Tickler Wing.
On 31st March 2013 the NHS was once again restructured. The Primary Care Trusts were abolished and replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The situation about the NHS beds in the George Tickler Wing remains confused.
22nd November 2013)
22nd November 2013)
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