Grad Centre Under Threat
the Hospital was taken over by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust there
has been increasing concern regarding our Postgraduate Centre.
although the centre was built by the society, using money given and raised by
members of the Society, it was built on the hospital site and is therefore on
crown land. It would appear that the new trust can do what they like with it -
indeed the chairman has already intimated that it should be knocked down once
the new postgraduate centre at
is completed in about 1 years time. Furthermore the site of our centre appears
vacant on future plans of the hospital.
we fight? Do we wish to keep the centre? Indeed, do we wish to have a meeting
point for the local doctors? Should the centre evolve to embrace nurses and,
other medical disciplines, together with dental and veterinary practitioners who
are already members of the society?
Editor feels strongly that the society is in need of such a place where we can
'gather together and converse'. What do you think?
This matter is already
under. discussion by a sub group of the society but it is important that we all
discuss the issues before the AGM - one of the most important society meetings
for many years. Possible options discussed at a recent executive meeting
included fighting demolition and continue running the building ourselves: try to
buy the site from the trust- find extra sources of income and refurbish the
building; rent or purchase a building off site (the trustees have substantial
funds ); or do nothing!!!
need to know what people think. The Medical Society President
is circulating a short questionnaire with this edition to find out your
views before the AGM in October.
recently retired from active general practice, and furthermore being no longer
involved in local medical affairs, it seems to me to be an appropriate time to
hand over the editorship of the Medical Society Newsletter to someone younger,
fitter and in contact with all that is going on. It is therefore my delight to
introduce Hilary Boyle as my successor.
Newsletter was started by
and myself at the time of the Society's centenary in 1993, and has continued by
popular demand ever since. The initial idea - with the centenary in mind - was
to remind members of the past by including excerpts from the minutes books,
together with looking at current Society activities and also brief comments on
current local medical news. Once the centenary was over the editorial policy
changed somewhat, to include articles about new members, obituaries, hobby
corner and items of special interest - especially Janet Adams "round the
or wrongly, I have on the whole tried to avoid being political, but I strongly
suspect that - in view of the disastrous local situation now developing - there
may well be a need for the newsletter to become more politically articulate in
the near future.
Finally may I take this
opportunity to thank the Society for its support with this innovative venture,
and to wish the Society and its newsletter all success in the future.
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Last letter from
Since I last wrote we
and set sail for
on 6th January. We took 6 days and 7 nights finally arriving at
in the early morning and being met by several boat loads of fishermen asking
for cigarettes, T-shirts or anything on offer. We managed to arrange a 5 day
which was going to take us fairly near Kurenegulia where Lucien Gunnaratna
lives. We managed to contact him and arranged to stay the night with him during
our tour. We had a wonderful evening with him and Anne, his wife, and Chintra
talking about old times in
and were made very welcome. Lucien took us by car to the Elephant Orphanage
where we met -up with the other 4 in our group to continue the tour. It was a
lot of driving in 5 days but we saw some wonderful places and have very clear
memories of the hills and tea plantations and a memorable stay at the Hill Club
which was like going back 100 years, having ones dress ironed for dinner, the
men dining in jackets and ties, and the library and billiard room where strict
silence was observed! Returning to the room after a very good dinner we were
given a couple of hot water bottles to warm the bed! We must return here to be
treated in this royal fashion and visit again the almost Victorian settlement in
the beautiful hills of the tea plantations and also find time to climb the rock
at Sigirya where a settlement was once a perch on a rock that is sheer on all
and spent almost another week there before setting off for the
which took us 3 days. We arrived in Male in torrential rain which took nearly
all day to clear which was very frustrating but were finally allowed to move to
one of the lagoons on a holiday island where we spent a few nights ashore
enjoying the hotel facilities. We then moved to one of the islands where there
are no holiday hotels just a local village and found the snorkelling here was
extremely good. We managed to purchase fresh fish from the village and nearly
lost it when it 'recovered' from the blow on the head it had received from the
locals and nearly jumped out of the dinghy - we had to kill it in our normal
humane way of pouring gin into its gills. It made a very good meal.
about 10 days of lazing we again set off for a further trek west to
. It took us 15 days to reach there as we were warned not to go near the coasts
of Socotra or
because of pirates. We had no problems although the French navy were on the
look out for us and there were several tales of lone boats being boarded, robbed
and even shot at. Dijibouti was a real culture shock after the
. The beggars were many and pathetic; the rich extreme with a great variety of
very expensive food available at a French supermarket. Some of our boats were
robbed although again we escaped but I only just escaped having my backpack
opened whilst it was on my back. We felt quite threatened although in the
markets the traders were honest and gave 'cadeaux' for every purchase we made of
fresh fruit and vegetables - always a little extra was put in the bag.
were very glad to leave
in glorious sunshine and flat seas. Little did we know what lay in store. By
the 3rd day the wind was on the nose and the seas were getting up. By the 5th
day the winds were strong and right on the nose - we were getting constantly wet
on deck from spray and anywhere below was uncomfortable because of the movement
but we were making some progress by motor sailing and doing better than most of
decided to put into Sawarkin in
. What an experience. A very sheltered anchorage with a sand bank almost
completely enclosing it except there were soldiers with machine guns all along
the sand bank - the guns pointing at us and the soldiers waving at us like long
lost friends. We were met by a delightful young man called Mohammed who acted as
agent to stamp our passports and clear us into the Sudan and then took us to the
town’s 'museum' which consisted of very little except a few pictures of Lord
Kitchener and the whirling Dervishes.
, after Gordon's death, established Sawarkin as a major port until 1941 when it
could no longer take big ships and the port was moved to
. Sawarkin looked as though it had been heavily bombed but in fact most of the
buildings had had blocks of stone taken from them for the people to build new
. The old town had been completely abandoned and the 'new', although outside the
old, town really didn't look much better. Mohammed took us to the best
restaurant in town which was a dirt floored tin shack with thousands of flies.
We all politely ate the food on offer thinking we would all be ill the next day
but in fact nobody was. Mohammed took us to
for the day on a local bus which had no springs, no glass and full to
overflowing, but our 30 mile journey cost just 60 cents (
) each. We bought fresh provisions in the markets - the chickens being killed
whilst we waited and had a good day out.
spent 3 days in Sawarkin and enjoyed the place immensely but finally decided we
had to set off although the winds were no better. Again wind on the nose, with
high seas; we were making long tacks and covering very little ground even motor
sailing. Still very wet and after 4 days our autohelm packed up and we had to
hand steer getting extremely wet with nowhere to dry our clothes. I wrote
'perhaps the nearest to hell we have experienced - cannot sit or lie, eat or
sleep because of the pitching and heeling of the boat. Going to the loo is
almost impossible because of being flung off the scat at regular intervals.
Winds 20-40 knots on the nose. Washing impossible as the water slops out of the
basin before you can use it. No fresh food left - corned beef awful everything
wet, bed, towels, clothes but the sun is shining and we are a little nearer
Eilat than we were yesterday!' It took another 7 days before we arrived in Eilat
but we did have two short spells with little wind and flat sea so that we could
put more diesel in the tanks.
arrived in Eilat to a wonderful welcome. David Lewis, owner of the King Solomon
hotel, greeted us with a basket of fresh fruit and a beautiful thick
white towel which was embroidered with the Blue Water Rally logo. To arrive to
this having run out of fresh food days earlier and with no dry towels was a
wonderful experience so with a good hot shower in the King Solomon hotel with
our new towels and a hose down of everything salty on the decks our previous
weeks experiences were soon forgotten. David also, a few nights later,
entertained us to a wonderful reception and meal. We spent nearly 3 weeks in
Eilat and travelled to
, Jerash and Ammanin that time. We also had our two daughters and families out
for a week which was the first time we had seen them since September 1998.
left Eilat on 5th April and roared down the
and through the Straits of Tirain where we had battled for hours to get through
going the other way. We turned into the
Gulf of Suez
to flat seas and no wind. About 2200 hours it started blowing and with an
engine of 140hp we made no progress right through the night and probably went
backwards for about half a mile. We had a major shipping lane on one side and an
oil well on the other and tremendous seas. We eventually made the north east
coast by 1100 the next morning and turned back to El Tor for shelter. We finally
made it by 1500 and spent 36 hours sheltering from the wind. When it did die we
motored hot foot for Port Suez getting there in about 20 hours. It was a pretty
dreadful place everyone wanting back handers and cigarettes for everything they
did including the pilots and the harbour masters. We spent an extra day waiting
to go again because of high winds but after 2 days in the Suez Canal finally
emerged into the Mediterranean and
. We motor sailed to
as another storm was expected and just made it in time before the next lot of
bad weather. We have spent almost 2 weeks here enjoying the island and the
Easter celebrations which are a week later than in
. Last night we watched the burning of Judas on the lagoon with lots of
fireworks and all the crowds holding lighted candles - quite a sight.
now hope we can day sail and run for shelter fairly easily if the weather
deteriorates. Although we have experienced some fairly bad weather in the Med.
In the past it doesn't last long and I wonder if it could ever be as bad as our
experiences in the
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Philip Hughes, G.P. in Cookley from
1972 to 1994, died recently, aged 73, in
, of throat cancer.
in 1926, Philip came from a Kidderminster family, attending
before moving with the family to
. On leaving school he worked for a while with the Inland Revenue, and during
the war - being a conscientious objector - he worked in the mines. Soon after he
decided to join the Methodist Ministry, his first appointment being in Porlock,
Somerset. Here he met his first wife Julia, by whom he had two children, Peter
and Sarah. Later after returning to the Midlands, Philip decided to study
Medicine, which he did at
qualifying M.B., Ch.B. in 1962.
house jobs were in Kidderminster at
, and he eventually joined Dr. Brian Lamb in general practice in Wolverley and
Cookley; Dr Jan Adams later succeeded Brian Lamb and in due course the partners
separated into two practices, with Philip being the Cookley doctor, where he met
his second wife, Joan.
was very popular with his patients, and a man of great energy. His many outside
interests included sailing -most weekends he travelled to Porlock to his boat -
and Choral singing.
leaves Joan, his children Sarah (a doctor ) and Peter (Environmentalist) and
will be remembered as a friendly and reserved man with great enthusiasm for his
work and devoted to his family.
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been in this area for most of my professional life, it is interesting to reflect
on the changes over that period of time. I have seen a period of growth for many
years, and now a complete reversal of that trend to the degree that I dread a
return to the "dark ages" of "no beds" anywhere and
therefore G.P's being expected to manage many serious conditions at home.
When I first came as a houseman at
there were only 3 or 4 residents, on call was horrendous; all the consultants
were part time; and out of hours support was minimal. There were 30 medical
beds, 20 paediatric and about the same number of surgical and orthopaedic and
trauma. Maternity was almost entirely G.P. led at home and the Croft and only
about 10% went to hospital in Bromsgrove - which was then our local consultant
unit under the care of Mr Kenny. Geriatrics was at Blakebrook - being the old
workhouse and even there, bed blockage was the norm. As today the most
attractive feature medically was the local camaraderie together with a much
higher standard of General Practice than most parts of the country even though
at the time there were many smaller practices.
Because of this there was a concerted effort by all of us to improve facilities
and standards. The society set up regular postgraduate sessions and in due
course built its own post graduate centre.
With the goodwill of the then Region, together with the very hard work of many
members - especially the late Robert Gibbins - plus the poor state of the
buildings, a programme of new building was started in the early 70s. on the old
workhouse site at Blakebrook and eventually we had our present facility by the
mid nineties. The late eighties and early nineties were probably the best times
ever here - working together as a hospital and community team for the common
good, and only vaguely aware of the future national plans.
Having spent much of my career as a small part of the team that has built up our
excellent local facility, I am horrified to see it destroyed by the stroke of a
bureaucrat pen at
. There is no doubt that in a few months time we shall be in a worse situation
than existed when I arrived here with NO acute beds; NO casualty; NO maternity
facility and a rapid loss of consultant contact as they all move away.
I hope and pray that there is a last minute change of heart for the sake not
but also the whole of the county.
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