Odstock anniversary marks 30 years since infirmary closed its doors

Salisbury District Hospital is celebrating a number of anniversaries over the next 12 months.

The first is the 30th anniversary since the hospital on the Odstock site became fully operational, following the closure of the Salisbury General Infirmary on Fisherton Street on 25 January, 1993. The final move to the current site took place on 30 January.
This move meant that all patients, staff, equipment and services were transferred from the Infirmary to the new building, as well those from Newbridge Hospital and the School of Nursing, which had been located on Crane Street.

The transfer also included a number of Odstock-based wards and departments into the new building, including the operating theatres and main kitchens.
The move to the new Salisbury District Hospital (SDH) site in Odstock started on the 15th January and took 15 days. The Pathology and Wessex Genetics Laboratory services had already been transferred to the new building in April 1992.

Gwyn Blenkinsop was the district planning nurse, and in1987 became a member of the SDH design team and then the project lead for the move.
As part of the project, members of the hospital commissioning team, along with a scale model of the new hospital, presented at over 350 road shows in Salisbury and the surrounding villages.
The major concern for most people was not the hospital itself, but what car parking and public transport facilities would be available.
Gwyn says: “I remember vividly the open days for visits to the new building during December 1992, between Christmas and the New Year. Over the course of two days, 1,700 people came through the doors.
“We had advertised this event in the local papers, on local radio and on public transport and offered free transport to and from Salisbury for the occasion under the headline, ‘Would you like to spend some time in hospital this Christmas?’.
“Another memory was, following the transfer of the Accident & Emergency service from the infirmary to the new hospital, we had our first opportunity to test the major fire alarm protocol when at 7:35am I was alerted that the department’s fire alarm had been activated.
“Upon my arrival, followed quickly by members of the fire service, we found that a member of staff making their breakfast had positioned the toaster immediately below a smoke detector.”
The old infirmary, Newbridge Hospital and the School of Nursing buildings were sold for property development, and vacated buildings on the Odstock site were demolished.

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