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Hospital Histories Will Benefit Their Future

February 20, 2007 3:51 PM

The stories behind two of Glasgow’s hospitals have been set down in two commemorative booklets which are being sold to benefit their futures.

Proceeds from the sales of mini histories of the existing Victoria Infirmary and Stobhill Hospital, which outlines the hospitals’ past, present and futures, will go towards creating spiritual care rooms at the new buildings.

The rooms are for patients, visitors and staff, regardless of faith or belief, and designed to create an atmosphere of support and peace, allowing people to say their prayers, enjoy silence or meditate.

No dominant religious symbols will be permanently in place, and a portable partition will be included to give privacy for prayers.

The accommodation will also have washrooms with for patients who wash before prayer.

Reverend Blair Robertson, Head of Chaplaincy for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:

“This has been a very exciting time for chaplaincy services.  We consulted representatives from faith communities about how we could best accommodate their needs in the new hospitals, and many of their ideas have been used to shape the design of the new spiritual care rooms.”

Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, a Non-Executive Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Chair of the Spiritual Care Committee, wrote the foreword to both booklets.

She added: “We have taken great care to ensure that the new spiritual care rooms suit the religious and spiritual needs of all our patients, carers and staff.

“The profits from the sale of these booklets will help NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde deliver this aim.”

Alistair Tough, the Board Archivist, and historian Isobel McDonald researched the information for the booklets.

They give a fascinating insight through words and pictures of the campaigns to establish both hospitals, their early beginnings, developments and specialisms.

Both hospitals were built in response to concerns about the affect of slum housing conditions and the impact of heavy industry on the health of the poor.

Outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and scarlet fever were common, and factory chimneys polluted the air causing lung conditions.

Strict rules applied to both staff and patients in the early days, when nurses lived in hospitals and could only receive visits from “private friends” sanctioned by Matron.
As a result child death rates were high and adult life expectancy low.

Patients’ behaviour was also stringently monitored, and they had to be  “silent when the Medical Attendants or Strangers visited the ward.”

Milestones include coping during the two World Wars when both hospitals worked on a reduced scale because of wards set aside for casualties, and staff serving in the armed forces.

The next landmark was joining the newly established National Health Service in 1948, which led to a dramatic increase in workload from a general public now able to enjoy free healthcare.

Facilities were quickly added, including the Victoria Geriatric Unit in 1972, the first of its kind in Scotland, and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at Stobhill in 1986.

Now both hospitals are looking to a modern future thanks to a £100 million investment on each of the sites, providing state-of-the-art technology to carry out increasing levels of day surgery, and treating a total of 800,000 patients annually.

The new Victoria is due to open next year and will have three floors, offering Southsiders direct access to services such as kidney dialysis for the first time.

It will include modern treatment rooms, state-of-the-art imaging, an advanced day surgery theatres, and the added bonus of a secure underground car park making life easier for patients. 

The Stobhill hospital, scheduled to open in 2009, will cover four floors, and in addition to the existing outpatient clinics, day surgery and diagnostic services, it will also provide a number of specialist health services such as cardiology, renal dialysis and gynaecology.

Its 12 short stay surgical beds, will enable clinicians to extend the range of surgical procedures offered within the new hospital.

The booklets also acknowledge the contribution of volunteers to both hospitals.

They cost £1 and are on sale now in shops in both hospitals, and Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015