Staff at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital celebrated a very special anniversary on Thursday.
More than 300 people who had been nominated by their peers and managers, attended a dinner to celebrate the hospital’s 75th birthday at Luton Hoo’s Warren Weir Suite.
The event was to thank staff for their outstanding contribution to the work of the hospital and to present awards to individuals and teams who had made a special contribution.
Guest speaker Professor Sir Peter Rubin, chairman of the General Medical Council, told the audience he had done some research into conditions in health services 75 years ago.
He said news reports showed the River Thames had flooded and that doctors were dealing with a diptheria epidemic, a disease most doctors would never see in their lifetime now.
And he condemned recent criticism of the National Health Service.
“I think people who criticise the NHS should try living in a country which doesn’t have an NHS,” he told the audience, to a round of applause.
The L&D was opened on February 14, 1939 by Queen Mary almost 10 years before the NHS was created.
During its anniversary year the hospital has a range of events planned including a thanksgiving service at Dunstable Priory Church, a special edition souvenir newsletter as well as radio broadcasts and news interviews.
Special guests on the night included Sir Peter, Dame Christine Beasley, former Chief Nursing Officer at the department of Health, award- winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and Dr Danielle Freedman, a consultant chemical pathologist and associate physician in clinical endocrinology.
The event was sponsored by L&D Charitable Funds which are donated for the benefit of staff.
The L&D was the first NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in Beds, Herts and Bucks in 2006 and today is a fully fledged University Teaching Hospital. It has 550 beds, supported by 13 operating theatres to meet the needs of 300,000 people in the local community.
Last year over 200,000 patients were referred by their GPs to see a specialist there and the L&D’s midwives delivered over 5,500 babies.
Today the L&D provides some specialist services including Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that provides the highest level of care available in the UK for critically ill new- born babies. It also has a cancer unit, a stroke unit and a modern cardiac unit and the busiest A&E in the East of England.