The Mayor of Barnsley Steven Green and other local dignitaries will visit Barnsley Hospital as part of national and regional celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
On Thursday (July 5), Coun Green will join Dr Richard Jenkins, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive officer, and chairman Steve Wragg to give a presentation to thank Trust staff for all their contributions to Barnsley people over the years.
The mayoral presentation will be in the new staff dining room in the refurbished Collier’s Restaurant.
Those invited include staff who have worked at the hospital for over 40 years, local MPs and media, the Hospital Trust governors, the hospital’s own Brilliant Award winners from the past year and Barnsley Hospital Charity’s Heart Award winners.
The mayor will cut a celebratory cake, meet staff and visit open day stalls to learn information about hospital services.
Dr Jenkins said: “The National Health Service is turning 70 on July 5, 2018.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our own Hospital Trust which is part of the NHS, one of the nation’s most loved institutions.
“Locally, we want to appreciate the vital role the service plays in the lives of people in Barnsley, and to recognise and thank our extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.”
The presentation will also be a chance for visitors to reflect on the hospital’s past, present and future. There has been some form of infirmary or medical care in Barnsley ever since the town opened workhouses around 1736.
The Gawber Road workhouse was built on the site in 1852 and later turned into Beckett’s Hospital.
Major enlargements in 1880-1883 created a large ‘pavilion-plan’ infirmary costing around £16,000, the equivalent today of £1.8 million.
The Beckett Dispensary was founded in 1862 by John Staniforth Beckett.
His endowment of £5,000 was to provide for medical and surgical assistance to Barnsley people who were too poor to afford it.
During World War One, 1,151 injured soldiers and sailors were treated there.
In 1930, the infirmary part of the site became St Helen’s Hospital.
In 1960, MP Roy Mason argued in Parliament for “the urgent need for an extension to St Helen’s Hospital”, with more than 2,500 people waiting for beds and 2,400 waiting for operations.
The Beckett finally closed in 1977 and was demolished in 1979, to make way for the District General Hospital.