- 1949-[1990s] (Creation)
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0.09 cubic metres
1 box and 14 rolls
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St Monica’s was founded in 1893 as a voluntary hospital, called ‘The Easingwold and District St Monica’s Cottage Hospital’, serving parishes in the Easingwold Rural District. The hospital was built at the expense of Mrs Katherine Love of The Hawkhills, Easingwold. Joseph Horatio Love, a Durham Colliery owner, had bought The Hawkhills estate in 1873, and the Love family were considerable local benefactors.
The hospital was probably built and opened in 1894. The architects were Messrs Wood and Ainslie. It was built in red brick, with oak half timbered gables and a red tiled roof. It was designed for six patients. A main block contained wards and bedrooms. In addition to the usual domestic facilities, there was a surgery or operating room, a private room for a matron or superintendent, and a mortuary, ambulance-place, laundry and outbuildings.
The hospital was funded through local subscribers, but also by the contributions of patients. Subscribers were entitled to recommend one patient for admission for every 10/- subscribed. Letters of recommendation had to be signed by local practitioners. All patients were entitled to two weeks in hospital, but a longer stay, was possible with further letters of recommendation, although more than eight weeks was regarded as exceptional. Patients’ contributions ranged from at least 2/6 per week, with subscribers recommending the sum which a patient was able to pay. Private patients were taken at not less than a guinea per week, and servants and resident farm workers were taken as private patients for fees graded according to the rental of the house where they worked. One bed was reserved for non-paying patients recommended by the lady president, Mrs Love.
The management of the hospital was in the hands of an executive committee of 12, including both men and women, three quarters of whom were subscribers of 10/- or more. The executive committee was elected by a general committee, which included not only individual subscribers but also parish representatives, from parishes where subscriptions totalled £10 or more. The officers of the hospital were the lady president, vice presidents, treasurer and secretaries. They, and the local doctors resident in the district, were ex-officio members of the executive committee. The hospital was supervised by a matron, who was a trained nurse.
The bed complement remained at six in the early twentieth century and the average yearly number of patients treated was around 60. In 1938 there were still only six beds, and in that year 95 patients were treated and fourteen operations were performed. The six local doctors attended their own patients, but specialists came from Leeds to perform major operations. There were three nurses, including the sister-in charge, who had the function of matron. As a small cottage hospital, performing useful medical and surgical work, it had an important role within the local community, a point underlined by the Hospital survey of 1945, which stated that it was ‘difficult to overestimate’ the value of such institutions in a hospital scheme.
St Monica’s became part of the NHS in 1948, within York ‘A’ Group of hospitals. It was said in 1949 to be ‘well equipped but inadequately staffed’. Within a year, staffing was reorganised, so that greater numbers of patients could be treated. The bed complement was eight in 1950, increased to nine by 1952. It was fully used, for both general cases and chronic sick patients, with around 90-100 in patient discharges per year in the 1950s, and between 20 and 50 minor operations performed annually. In the early 1960s, discharges per year fell slightly to around 50-70, but minor operations increased to around 40-70 annually. Casualty attendances were around 400-800 per year in the early 1960s. Physiotherapy treatment was being given to patients by the early 1960s: 19 patients received physiotherapy in 1961 and 275 did so in 1962.
Extensive alterations and repairs were undertaken in 1955, when the hospital briefly closed for a few weeks, reopening with modernised wards, kitchen and other services. The hospital briefly closed again in a flu epidemic in 1957. A number of other improvements were made to the building and services in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A day room was built in 1967 and a new physiotherapy unit was opened in 1970, which was funded by money raised by the Friends of St Monica’s Hospital, founded in 1969.
The Friends have continued to be very active in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In the early 1990s a successful appeal raised £150,000 for a new occupational therapy unit and extension and refurbishment programme. These major additions to the hospital included the demolition of the former day room and a ward to create a purpose built occupational therapy department, two new wards, bathroom and toilet facilities and a new day room. While work went on, the staff and patients were temporarily transferred to empty wards at nearby Claypenny Hospital. The extensions were officially opened in October 1993, the centenary year of St Monica’s.
Further fundraising by the Friends has financed a day room extension in 1994, and the addition of two single rooms in 1997. The Friends have also raised money for hospital equipment, including an electrocardiograph machine, resuscitation machines, a defibrillator, physiotherapy equipment and wheelchairs.
St Monica’s had 11 beds in the early 1990s - the smallest hospital in North Yorkshire. In 1997 there were 12 short stay beds, and the hospital offered a range of in-patient and day services for the local community, including respite care, terminal care, minor casualty treatment, facilities for convalescence, and rehabilitation and physiotherapy. It offers access to a number of medical facilities on a local basis: for example, in 1996, a community ultrasound service was introduced at the hospital. I
Today St Monica's is a 12 bedded inpatient unit providing rehabilitation, palliative and general nursing and medical care and day care including physiotherapy and occupational therapy to patients in the local community over the age of 18.
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