Hospital League of Friends

  • Contact: Carol Lingard
  • Address:
    Dartmouth, Devon
  • Telephone: 01803 832105 / 07870809048
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    Hospital League of Friends

    The League of Friends of Dartmouth Hospital - to use the full title - was founded in 1956 and since then has been very active in providing many extras for the Hospital. Miss Irene Scawn is one of the founder members of the League and also a former Mayor of Dartmouth and, as Chairman of the League for over 17 years gave energetic leadership. She has recently been installed as the first President of the League.  At first the League of Friends was concerned with providing comforts and amenities for patients, such as Television sets, radio headphones, a trolley shop, a library service and improved bedside lockers.  Later it became apparent that with escalating costs of medical equipment, the NHS could not always bridge the gap between what was considered essential and what might be called merely desirable. The League therefore moved into buying or helping to purchase more major items including special beds, hoists, resuscitation and physiotherapy equipment.

    Contributions were made to major construction projects like the present Physiotherapy Department in 1974, the lift in 1978 and a geriatric unit in 1982.  Help was given to converting a ward into the day centre in 1983 and the Accident and Emergency unit was updated in the same year.  In 1991 a new X-ray unit was installed.  Just last December further building conversions were carried out with the opening of an emergency accommodation unit with en-suite facilities for relatives of seriously ill patients or for rehabilitating patients and also a meeting and training room for staff.  The Festive Season is not forgotten, and every year the League of Friends gives Christmas presents to  the patients  in the Hospital itself and those living in Residential and Nursing homes in Dartmouth and nearby villages as well as many people who  are disabled and infirm living in the community.  This works out at several hundred presents and is quite a buying and wrapping task!

    The League of Friends is a Registered Charity with the welfare of patients as its prime - indeed its sole - concern.  It acts as a very effective and tangible link between the Community and the hospital.  It would not be easy to go along to the Hospital administration with a few pounds or a cheque and say 'Thanks for helping me get better'.  The NHS is not geared to deal with that, but the League of Friends is there for that very purpose and is delighted to receive any contribution no matter how small.  Further there is the total confidence that private contributions really will go towards helping the patients, and won't even be taxed directly!

    Through its elected - and of course voluntary - committee the League considers requests from the Departments of the hospital for equipment and other items and spreads its charitable wings into helping the Occupational Therapists with equipment for rehabilitating patients back into the community and also items for the Community Nurses and Midwives.  To maintain the momentum and the League's  ability to contribute to both major and not-so-major items members run events locally to both raise the profile of the organisation and to raise money directly.  Look out for Coffee Mornings or for a stall run by the League at many of the local events, especially in the summer.  We look for help from everywhere including the many tourists during the Summer months - after all there is a very busy A & E Department at the hospital which will take good care of the numerous injuries which occur during the months when the Town is so full.  The League - and hence the present patients are extremely grateful for the major contributions that come in the form of bequests in the wills of ex-patients of the Hospital; it is of course the major donations that make possible the purchase of items of equipment for the medical staff that will so help future patients.

    Recent years

    Most of our members will be aware of some at least of the activity of recent years through attendance at various events including the AGM and by reading the minutes of that annual meeting.  Many of our most loyal members have been part of the Greater Dartmouth scene for a good number of years but are no longer able to take an active part in the various events. For them and for the large number of members and non-members who have helped in the past and - we hope - will help in the future here is some of the work that it has been possible to undertake in the past few years.

    Recently it has been possible to update the X-Ray with a more capable and safer machine and to provide a small suite of rooms - 'The Friends' Suite' - to act as a 'half-way house' for rehabilitating patients and also as accommodation for relatives wishing to spend precious time with their loved ones in hospital but unable to find accommodation in the Town.   

    With the exception of the AGM all public events are intended as fundraisers but they are also meant to be fun - or at worst, 'entertaining'!  There remains much to be done and for those of us that live in the area it is so important to keep our hospital running and up to date.  Through the media we are only too familiar with the fate of some Community Hospitals in other parts of the West Country.  Please consider joining the Dartmouth Hospital League of Friends, just leave your name and telephone number or address at the Hospital Reception or even at the Dartmouth Surgery Reception and one of the Committee will get back to you.  The annual subscription  can be as little as £1.

    or of course you can Chairman Carol Lingard on 07870809048 / 01803 832105