Hospital open morning


We were welcomed last Thursday, July 6 by Jackie Dudfield, board member of Rye Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital. This was the first opportunity, she told us, since Covid to let friends and supporters of the hospital see at first hand the results of their donations.

Jackie Dudfield with the echocardiogram

We split into three groups and made a round tour of the facilities. There was much to impress, not least the architectural design of the building itself which combines functionality with a brightness of natural light illuminating each department. The reception area has been redesigned, with an improved seating area for visitors. In one corner stood a brand new echocardiogram machine, a type of ultrasound scan for the heart and nearby blood vessels. The £40,000 cost had been raised by friends’ donations.

the roundel of signatures

Walking to the outpatients department, we inspected the huge linen roundel displaying the signatures of those who had helped save the hospital from closure those many years ago. There are 19 beds for inpatients and their care remains at the heart of the hospital’s work, but the range of outpatient facilities has expanded enormously in recent years. We were shown the weekly programme of visiting health specialists covering a whole range of services.

Barry’s garden with pond

Upstairs are meeting rooms and admin offices and a staff room refurbished largely from a bequest by Maureen Getley who had been a long-time volunteer on reception. We descended to admire Barry’s garden, a quiet courtyard with pond and flowering shrubs, and then a walk through the wards to the large rehabilitation room, largely used for physiotherapy. Two exercise bicycles were in use and there were parallel bars to aid mobility recovery. The number of falls by not just elderly pedestrians in Rye was remarked upon.

The Hoverjack demonstration

We watched a demonstration there of a newly acquired ‘Hoverjack’, an inflatable mattress system consisting of four chambers that are inflated sequentially to lift individuals comfortably from the floor to bed or stretcher height in a supine position. This piece of equipment costing £9,000 was also funded from friends’ donations.

All three groups finally joined together for a soft drink and then we departed on our various ways, grateful for the chance to have gained a better appreciation of the hospital’s work in the community.

The hospital’s next fund-raising event takes place on Wednesday, July 26. It’s a Tom Hanks double bill outdoor cinema at Rye Rugby Club, New Road, TN31 7LS. Gates open at 4pm. Burgers, chips, pizza and ice cream will be on sale and a licensed bar

Image Credits: Rye News library , Kenneth Bird .

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