|The Rushden Echo, 26th October 1962, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Criticism of New Health Centre
Three Rushden mothers strongly criticised the town’s new health clinic, officially opened yesterday by Mrs. Enoch Powell, wife of the Minister of Health. Their main criticisms, they told the “Echo” were directed not against the actual building, but the casual way they were treated.
But the three, who declined to give their names, were decidedly in the minority, for others who talked to “Echo” reporters at the £28,000 clinic were full of praise for it.
They all agreed that it was a vast improvement on the premises in Queen Street, formerly used for child welfare purposes.
The mothers who claimed the new clinic did not provide for their social needs felt they were unwanted.
One said: “We feel we are not wanted. We can’t sit around and have a chat like we did at Queen Street clinic. We just have to get what we want and get out.”
Another claimed: “I have nothing against the clinic itself. It’s the way we are treated. We get a cup of tea, but as soon as we’ve finished we have to leave.”
The third added: “In the other clinic they could all get together while the mothers talked it was much more of a social centre. We don’t feel that now.”
Other improvements were suggested by some women interviewed: The waiting room, with children’s slides, was not large enough and the outdoor pram facilities would be better fully enclosed.
Mrs. A. U. Muxlow, chairman of the county health committee, agreed that the waiting room could be extended. “At present it is a little small for the needs,” she told us.
About the three women who felt unwanted, Mrs. Muxlow said that she hoped eventually the clinic would acquire more of a social atmosphere and become a “mothers’ club.”
Mrs. J. Green, of Newton Road, commented that the new clinic was well organised, better than the old one because of better facilities.
She said: “The waiting room has a pleasant atmosphere. One can make friends over a cup of tea. The old clinic didn’t promote this I just wanted to get in and out as fast as possible.”
Mrs. A. Springs said she thought the new clinic was a good example to the town. “Certainly it is a step in the right direction,” she told us. “The cleanliness is a good example to the mothers who bring their children.”
Mrs. Jean Cooper, of 54 Blinco Road, praised the staff at the Rectory Road clinic. “The way it is functioning is a real credit to them. They deserve a lot of credit.”
Mrs. Mabel Andrews who, along with several other women, serves cups of tea to Rushden mothers at the clinic on Wednesday afternoons said the facilities were much better than those at Queen Street.
Mrs. A. Betts also liked the new building. “There is more room where the babies are weighed,” she remarked. “It’s much quicker and more efficient than the old one.”
The clinic, which opened several weeks ago, houses all the county department services in Rushden, including child welfare, relaxation and mother-craft classes, dental care and speech therapy, and will also provide office accommodation for visiting health staff.
In addition, Mrs. Powell opened a £3,000 mobile health clinic, which is towed by a 12-seat field vehicle.