Rosemary Black, Vice-Chairman of the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust, welcomed guests to the opening of the new Outpatients and Minor Injuries Unit at Andover Hospital. They were shown round before the formal ceremony.
This is the text of what Sir George said at the opening.
Mr Mayor, Madam Mayoress, Madam Deputy Mayor, Ladies and Gentleman.
It is the first time since I have seen the Mayor and Mayoress since their coronation earlier in the week. I look forward to seeing them on the ceremonial municipal circuit and it is great that our first citizens can be here at this important ceremony.
The Mayor's father, as Mayor of Andover, was present in 1964 when Lord Northbrook opened the extension to the old Outpatients Department; so it is nice to keep things in the family.
It is marvellous to see Elizabeth Robinson here, who will help me unveil the plaque. What more fitting memorial to her late husband Derek could we ask for than investment in the hospital he loved and fought for to his last breath.
Andover Hospital is more than a place that we come to when we are not well; it is a statement about our town. As the numbers living here have grown and our aspirations for the town have grown, so there has been a demand not just to keep our hospital, but for it to be invested in, modernised and a wider range of services provided her.
The debate about its future generated a level of feeling I have not known before or since.
I remember a packed public meeting in the Church down the road, when decision makers were left in no doubt about the strength of feeling about the hospital.
From that was born SOS – save our services – and I pay tribute to the work of Brian and Margaret Richardson in carrying forward the momentum of that meeting, and in getting involved in the discussion of the design.
I pay tribute to the work of the League of Friends, who have supported the hosiptal so generously over the years.
So now we see the £3m investment in the hospital.
Minor Injuries Unit staff have coped brilliantly during the transformation. Aurelia and I have used the MIU some time ago, when we came off the tandem and injured three out of four arms. 16000 people a year benefit from the professional care and treatment they give. It is run by nurse practitioners, and we now have the useful addition of telemedicine, bnringing with it high quality virtual consultation. This avoids the need for a large number of journeys to Winchester
We have a new Outpatients Department. I Got into trouble ten yars ago when I referred to the old outpatients as straight out of Carry on Nurse. The staff thought they were being compared to Hattie Jacques – but what I was referring to was the building. It was ot a suitable place to deliver medical care in 21st century. The new one, finished in March, will be visited by 37000 patient a year.
The buildings are important; but the staff are more so. We are lucky to have such professional and dedicated staff here in Andover"
Sir George handed over to Brian Richardson, before Sir George and Elizabeth Robinson unveiled the plaque. Brian and his wife Margaret were the driving forces behind Save our Services.