It’s not just romantics who will be celebrating on Friday, the Luton and Dunstable Hospital celebrates its 75th anniversary as well.
It was opened by Queen Mary on February 14, 1939, predating the NHS by almost 10 years. It was founded thanks to fundraising , voluntary subscription and generous local benefactors.
Over the coming months there are a range of events to celebrate the anniversary including awards events in recognition of staff achievements tonight (Thursday), a thanksgiving service at Dunstable Priory, a special edition souvenir newsletter as well as radio broadcasts and news interviews.
Among interesting facts about the hospital are:
>It was the only hospital to use penicillin in World War II for civilians and the only hospital described as excellent in the Ministry of Health report in 1940.
>The hospital’s annual running costs in its first year were £146,000. Today it’s £240 million a year.
>It was the first NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in Beds, Herts and Bucks in 2006 and today the L&D is a fully fledged University Teaching Hospital. It has 550 beds, 13 operating theatres to meet the needs of 300,000 people in the local community.
Last year over 200,000 patients were referred by their GPs to see a specialist here and the L&D’s midwives delivered over 5,500 babies. Today the L&D provides some specialist services including Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There is also have a cancer unit, stroke unit, cardiac unit and the busiest A&E in the East of England.
The hospital plans to raise £75,000 for a state-of-the-art prostate biopsy laser probe to provide timely diagnosis of prostate problems.