|Adnitt Road Journal, 1990
Adnitt Road Medical Centre
Rushden Medical Centre - A History by Dr. David Smith
The centre opened on 12th August 1968. Before this the three Practices worked from separate Surgeries.
The GREEN Practice, then Doctors Paine, Clarke and Brook had their Surgery in Park Road, where The Linnets Elderly Persons Home is now.
The YELLOW Practice, then Doctors Lean, Cunningham and Lumb also had their Surgery in Park Road in the Buildings now used by the Allotment Holders’ Association.
At one time there were three Doctors living in Park Road Dr Pickard, Dr Paine and Dr McKendrick. Dr Lean lived at the top of Griffith Street, adjoining Park Road. This was the “Harley Street’’ of Rushden.
The idea of combining to build our own Centre came from Dr Paine who said that he had only a few years to retirement, and would like to work from ‘decent’ premises before this. Surprisingly, all three Practices a total of nine Doctors agreed!
Next a site had to be found. Dr Paine was talking of our plans at a Rotary Lunch, when another Rotarian, whom I will not name, said scornfully, “that will never happen and it’s a rotten idea anyway.’’ Arthur Sanders, the builder, overhearing this said “I think it’s a splendid idea and I will give you some land for it!!’’
He gave us a double plot in Adnitt Road. We were able to buy adjacent land from Mrs Muriel Bailey who lived in Purvis Road and thus get enough land to build the original Centre. We employed an Architect, told him what we wanted, and in a very short time he came up with a plan. This was not quite what we wanted, but a second plan was soon approved and was put out to tender. Three firms tendered and their prices were all very close. Marriotts, Small Works Department won the order and the building was complete by August 1968. From its conception to completion took about eighteen months.
We held a Public Meeting at the Boys’ School in Tennyson Road to explain to a slightly bewildered audience what the new building would mean, and that we would be running an Appointment System. “How can we make an appointment if we don’t know when we are going to ill?’’ was the cry. A question still asked by many.
Before moving to the new building we had to employ extra staff. It seems hard to believe now but the Blue Practice employed ONE receptionist, Daisy Hinde. Winnie Tingle worked for the Green Practice and Sylvia Davidson for the Yellow. Jean Dorrington later to become Jean Dewhirst worked for Dr Cunningham at Higham. We realised that more staff would be needed and appointed Mollie Merricks, Mollie Lindsell (Daisy’s daughter) and the Centre Nurse Stella Dudley, although no-one knew quite what a Practice Nurse would do.
The move to the new Centre was at a weekend, Spriggs of Higham brought the Medical Records and such furniture as was worth keeping. We spent a busy weekend sorting this out and were ready to start on Monday 12th August.
All went well at first, but we soon had to appoint extra staff. The waiting room then was about a quarter of the size of the one we have now but no-one had to stand. Then came the expansion of Northampton and Wellingborough. This led to a sudden rise in the population of Rushden, not predicted by the Planners we met before our original plans.
Before long there were three Practices of four Partners each and we had to embark on an extension. This was built in April 1981 and was a disaster. It was too small, the office was poorly ventilated and the waiting room was crowded from Day One.
A second extension was needed when the Practice size increased to five each, and what began as a scheme to provide a Consulting Room for Dr Hanspaul, ended with what we have today.
Finding a home for the computer which Mr Clarke has wished on us, has presented a further problem which, has been solved.
RUSHDEN MEDICAL CENTRE was the first of its kind in Northamptonshire and were often asked by others embarking on similar projects for our advice. We sought but failed to get useful advice when we started the Centre. We learned by our mistakes an expensive way of learning where building is involved. There will be changes, but with only two years plus to go, I hope I shall be spared the trauma. I am sure that all those involved in the extra work of our last two extensions, and who had to put up with far more difficulties than I did, will agree.