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From the archive of Rowan Flack
Former Clinical Nurse Officer, Rushden Hospital, 1966-1990.
Transcribed by Greville Watson, 2009



YEAR 1961

The Chest Department under review consists of Rushden House Sanatorium and associated Clinics, and serves a population of about 250,000, representing the greater part of the County of Northampton.

This area comprises the whole of the population served by the Kettering Hospital Management Committee, and a section of the population served by the Northampton Hospital Management Committee.  That part of the area under the administration of the Northampton Hospital Management Committee was, however, handed over to the Creaton Chest Service at the end of the year.

The headquarters are at Rushden House Sanatorium which has 71 beds for the treatment of tuberculous and non-tuberculous chest patients, and which also serves as the base for the administration of the Clinic services.

Clinics are established as follows :
St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering
Rock Street, Wellingborough
Rushden House Sanatorium
Nuffield Diagnostic Centre, Corby
11, St Matthew’s Parade, Northampton.  (Transferred to Creaton Chest Service on 31.12.61).

Kettering Chest Clinic

In the Annual Report for 1960, Dr Lord drew attention to the unsatisfactory premises and obsolete X‑ray equipment at the Kettering Chest Clinic.  I am pleased to report that in August, 1961, this Clinic was transferred to the X‑ray Department at St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering.  These premises are somewhat cramped, but the arrangement is working very satisfactorily, and it is of course an enormous advance to have the exclusive use of an up-to-date X‑ray department for the Chest Clinic sessions.  This arrangement is for an interim period only, as the Chest Clinic will eventually be transferred to the new out-patient department that is being planned at Kettering General Hospital.

Medical Staff

The authorised establishment is as follows :

Two whole-time Chest Physicians (1 Consultant and 1 S.H.M.O. with award).
One S.H.M.O. (Two sessions weekly – nine sessions Mass Radiography).

On 30th November, 1961, Dr G.B. Lord, Consultant Chest Physician in charge of the department, retired, after 31 years continuous service in tuberculosis and diseases of the chest in Northamptonshire.  During this long period there have, of course, been vast changes both in the pattern of chest diseases and in the structure of the Health Service which have called for an extensive re‑organisation of the chest services.  In Northamptonshire Dr Lord has been the chief architect of this successful reorganisation and his name will long be remembered with affection and respect in the County.

Reference is made later in this report to the proposed reorganisation of the department following Dr Lord’s retirement, and to the interim arrangements made to carry on the service pending the appointment of Dr Lord’s successor.

Rushden House Sanatorium

During 1961 there were 248 admissions into the chest section, of which 81 were tuberculous and 167 cases were non-tuberculous.  In 1960 the total admissions were 274 so there have been 26 fewer admissions this year due to a drop of 37 in tuberculous admissions, non-tuberculous admissions having risen by 11.  The proportion of non-tuberculous to tuberculous admissions is the highest ever, two-thirds of the cases now being non-tuberculous.  The quicker turnover of non-tuberculous patients and the more elaborate investigation and treatment that these patients require, entails more intensive medical and nursing care than in the days when the Sanatorium treated tuberculosis only.

The changed pattern of work is illustrated by comparing last year’s admissions with those of 10 years ago.  Although we then had nine more beds than now, admissions have almost doubled, and there has been a fourteenfold increase in non-tuberculous admissions.




Sixty patients were discharged from Rushden House Sanatorium with respiratory tuberculosis quiescent; eight were discharged with respiratory tuberculosis non-quiescent, of whom one was transferred to Creaton Hospital for continuation of treatment.


During the year under review there were 30 deaths in Rushden House Sanatorium of which 5 were due to pulmonary tuberculosis and 14 due to lung cancer (13 bronchial carcinoma, 1 secondary carcinoma).  There were 5 deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis compared with 2 in 1960, but deaths from tuberculosis are now so low that fluctuations of one or two make a large statistical difference.

A much more significant pattern of Sanatorium mortality figures is obtained by comparing deaths in 1961 with those in the Sanatorium in 1949, the last full year before chemotherapy was widely used in tuberculosis.

30 deaths
5 due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis
1949 24 deaths 23 due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis

In 1961 the average age of the 5 patients dying from Pulmonary Tuberculosis was 65.

In 1949 the average age of the 23 patients dying from Pulmonary Tuberculosis was 33.

Another significant difference is that no female patient died from Pulmonary Tuberculosis in 1961.  In 1949 there were 12 female deaths and 11 males.  In fact there have been no female deaths from Pulmonary Tuberculosis in the Sanatorium for the past two years.

Minor Operations

Chest Aspirations, Biopsies etc.

Reorganisation of Medical Staffing following Dr Lord’s retirement

At a meeting of the Northampton and Kettering area Department of Chest Diseases, held at Northampton Chest Clinic on 14.9.61 under the Chairmanship of Dr G.B. Lord, the following recommendations were made for the future staffing at Rushden on Dr Lord’s retirement:-

Dr O.E. Fisher to be successor in charge at Rushden and associated Clinics.

(2) The weekly County Clinic at Northampton now held by Dr G.B. Lord to be transferred to Dr O'Leary.

(3) A radical reorganisation of the Mass Radiography undertaken by Dr Gerrard should be made so that he no longer carries out clinical examinations of M.R. suspects but refers such cases to the local Chest Clinic for the initial clinical examination.

(4) As a result of the reorganisation of the M.R. work, Dr Gerrard should be brought more fully into the work of Rushden House Sanatorium and associated Clinics.

(5) A general practitioner should be appointed as clinical assistant for two sessions weekly, for duties at Rushden House Sanatorium.

These proposals have the full support of the Kettering Hospital Management Committee.

These proposals were discussed at a meeting held at the Regional Board’s offices on 30th October 1961, when the following were present:-

Dr J.A. Oddie
Dr G.B. Lord
Dr N. O'Leary
Dr F. Ridohalgh
Dr E.T.W. Starkie

It was agreed that the following recommendations should be made to the Board:-


That the future organisation and staffing of the Chest Clinic should be more closely linked with the general hospitals, thus anticipating the time when the service will be based on Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals.  In the meantime, the service should be based on Creaton and Rushden Chest Hospitals, serving the Northampton and Kettering Hospital Management Committee areas respectively.

(2) That the vacancy created by Dr Lord should be filled by advertising a Consultant post, (whole time or maximum part time at the choice of the successful candidate,) to the Northampton/Kettering area Department of Chest Diseases for duties in the area served by the Kettering Hospital Management Committee, and that initially, the Consultant should be in charge of the Chest beds at Rushden.

(3) That Doctors Starkie, O’Leary and McMurray would in future, be responsible for the chest service in the area served by the Northampton and District Hospital Management Committee.  This would mean that the Chest Clinic held at Northampton for County patients, which is at present run by the Rushden staff, would be taken over by the Creaton staff, and to enable this additional load to be undertaken, Dr O’Leary would give up two of her geriatric sessions.

Dr Fisher, who at present holds a Consultant post on the establishment, but who is graded as an S.H.M.O., will be an applicant for the post.  No firm recommendations can be made on the future establishment in the Kettering area until the new Consultant is appointed.

These proposals have been approved by the Regional Establishment Committee at their meeting on 17.11.61, but have not yet been implemented.

Interim Arrangements for carrying on the Service since Dr Lord’s retirement

Since Dr Lord left on 17.11.61, Dr Fisher and Dr Gerrard have maintained the service at Rushden House Sanatorium, and associated Chest clinics in conformity with the recommendations of the area Department as follows:-


Dr Fisher has been in administrative charge of Rushden House Sanatorium and associated Clinics, and has assumed responsibility to the Local Health Authority for advice on environmental and preventive aspects of tuberculosis.  Clinically, he has retained charge of half the beds (35) at Rushden House Sanatorium, and has held 4 clinics weekly at Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden.


The weekly County Clinic at Northampton was formally handed over to Dr O’Leary on 31.12.61.  The area served by the Rushden and associated clinics is now roughly identical with the area served by the Kettering Hospital Management Committee.  It contains a population of 200,000 of which over three quarters, (155,000) is urban.


Dr Gerrard’s duties have been drastically reorganised, and he now spends 8½ sessions at Rushden House Sanatorium and associated clinics, and 2½ sessions at Mass Radiography.  He has taken clinical charge of half the beds (35) at Rushden House Sanatorium, and holds three Chest Clinics weekly at Kettering and Wellingborough.

(4) Lastly, on 19.3.62 a local general practitioner, Dr D.W. Smith, was appointed as a locum clinical assistant for 6 months, for two sessions weekly at Rushden House Sanatorium.

Since Dr Lord’s retirement, these arrangements have been well tested, as during the past three months the turnover of both in‑patients and outpatients has been exceptionally heavy.  Moreover, we have had to cope with the Mass Radiography Survey at Wellingborough (9,497 examinations).

These arrangements have now been working smoothly for 5 months, during the season when Chest Clinics and hospitals are busiest.  I submit that they provide a satisfactory solution for a permanent reorganisation of the Rushden Chest Service.

O.E. Fisher

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