Yeovil Hospitals - SUMMERLANDS
A 'care of the elderly' hospital
During the 1939-45 war, the buildings of the old Union Workhouse in Preston Road were used by the A.R.P. and nursing staff to receive bomb casualties. The new Summerlands Hospital which arose on the site, started with the commencement of the first three wards in 1967, completed two years later. A further ward was added, and the hospital formally opened in 1973 by the then mayor, Alderman Mrs Hazel Brown. Further improvements and additions have taken place since then, and all that remains of the former Union Workhouse of 1837, which had once accommodated 300 paupers, is the building fronting Preston Road.
Many thanks to Diana Stirling, who worked at the hospital for 20 years, for much of the following.
Opened in 1973, Summerlands Hospital was a purpose built, Care of the Elderly Hospital and was a centre of excellence where specialist care and rehabilitation was carried out for many years for elderly patients. Patients were under the care of a consultant Geriatrician and registrars and looked after by specialist nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. There was a Day Hospital every weekday and a great many innovations of which we were very proud such as a flat where patients could practice living alone and caring for themselves for a trial before being discharged.
As the new modern purpose built building was on the land behind the old workhouse building (a listed building, retained for historic reasons but only for office space and locker rooms) not all people in Yeovil knew what an excellent hospital it was. A decision was made in the early 1990s to sell the hospital and to nurse elderly patients at the General Hospital. The Summerlands building was then sold to the Mental Health Trust.
The hospital had 94 beds contained in four wards, each with a day room. The hospital also had a Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Department, a Day Hospital offering on average 20 places per day and a weekly Drop-In Centre.
The new Summerlands Hospital, photographed in the 1970s.
A more recent photograph, taken from Preston Road.