Community hospital is 100-years-old

NRHN 23-08-12 BE 15 Ripley hospital centenary. Sally-Ann Coope matron for Ripley and Babbington hospitals.

NRHN 23-08-12 BE 15 Ripley hospital centenary. Sally-Ann Coope matron for Ripley and Babbington hospitals.

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Staff at Ripley Community Hospital say the facility is as vital as ever - as it approaches its centenary year.

The hospital was founded in 1912 after a miner, Thomas Neal, was badly injured at Ripley Colliery and died on the way to Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.

On September 7 it will be 100-years-old and a special service is planned in the grounds of the Sandham Lane site with staff set to dress in a range of uniforms throughout its history.

Matron Sally Ann Coope , who has worked for the hospital for the past 22 years, said the hospital is still just as important a century on.

She said: “The main hospitals can do the really specialist care- what we do is high volume and low risk. It’s things like cataracts, or rheumatology – someone can have an injury on a Sunday playing football and in the afternoon come here.

“It is a place for people to come on their doorstep without having to travel for care.”

The hospital, which was originally set up through donations from Ripley workers’ wages, has seen several employees stay on its books for more than a quarter of its 100-year history.

“There’s something about this place that gets into your bone marrow!” She added.

Receptionist Margaret Underhill, 55, of Nuthall, is one such worker – she has been there for 37 years, joining aged 18.

“There used to be just the one office with three clerical workers and two medical secretaries,” she said.

“And back then we all took dinner on one large table - it was home cooked food. But it was very daunting as an 18-year-old, having to eat alongside the doctors!”