Yeovil Hospitals - District
yeovil district hospital
It was a perennial problem that had happened with all of Yeovil's previous hospitals - the town was growing faster than the facilities of the hospital could cope with, plus the standard of care required had risen in people's expectations. By the 1960s a new district hospital was being planned that would not only replace the old general hospital, but provide a higher standard of care to a much larger population - Yeovil and the surrounding district.
Work began on building today's hospital in 1968 to designs by Sir Percy Thomas & Son. The total project cost was £3.2 million (around £49 million at 2017's value). The first patients were admitted on 28 February 1973 and the official opening, by HRH the Duchess of Kent, took place on Monday 15 October 1973.
The new hospital, with its main entrances in Higher Kingston, received over 40,000 attendances by patients during its first six months of operation. Today some 30,000 inpatient day cases and over 90,000 outpatient appointments are made each year. Additionally, some 40,000 Accident & Emergency cases are dealt with and some 1,300 babies are born in the maternity unit annually. The hospital's catchment area includes south Somerset, north and west Dorset and parts of Mendip - a total care population in excess of 180,000 people.
Since 2000 a new coronary care unit, intensive care and a private patient ward have been completed at a cost of £9.3 million.
From my collection
The new maternity unit featured in the 1967 Yeovil Guide.
Photographed by Geoff Bowler, courtesy of Sue Bowler
The new Yeovil District Hospital under construction in 1969.
Photographed in 1969, the new hospital takes shape. At this time the Reckleford extension had not been finished and it was still possible to drive from Princes Street to Kingston. It's amazing how a long telephoto lens can make a building look much bigger than it actually is.
.... and photographed in 1970 from Kingston. What a serious amount of scaffolding!!
In an aerial photograph of about 1972 shows the old Yeovil General Hospital building at centre, partially hidden by the new maternity unit, dwarfed by the new Yeovil District Hospital complex.
The souvenir programme produced for the official opening of the new hospital.
HRH the Duchess of Kent cutting a huge celebratory cake in the shape of the new hospital.
An early 1970s postcard featuring the new hospital - note the traffic system before Reckleford was made dual carriageway.
From my collection
A postcard of the newly-opened hospital. A sad day if you're on holiday in Yeovil and you have to send your nearest and dearest this "wish you were here" greeting because you're a bit poorly.
This aerial photograph of the newly-completed hospital, from a slightly different angle, was taken in 1975 and shows the whole complex after the demolition of the old general hospital the site of which was covered by the car park. At this stage Kingston had not been fully completed as a dual carriageway along its south-eastern half. The extent of the hospital complex, from the Fiveways roundabout all the way to Reckleford, shows why every building along the right side of Kingston (as seen in this photograph) was demolished.
This aerial photograph of 1984 shows Kingston running down from the top left corner of the photo to join the hospital roundabout with Queensway running to the left and Reckleford to the right. The hospital complex dominates the photograph.
Courtesy of Yeovil - A Trip Back to the Past
This photograph dates to January 1985 and looks towards the hospital from Princes Street.
Photograph by Trevor Hussey, courtesy of Mrs Anne Hussey
Yeovil District Hospital, photographed in 1991.
Seen in its wider setting from the top of Wyndham Hill, the hospital is seen end-on at right and St John's church is at left. Photographed in 2013.
Yeovil District Hospital seen from Summerhouse Hill. Photographed in 2013.