Thornbury is fortunate to have its own cottage hospital, located on the north side of town just off the Gloucester Road, approximately half a mile from the town centre and next to Thornbury Health Centre. The hospital includes an in-patient rehabilitation ward, an outpatient department, a physiotherapy suite, and offices for the Avon and Wiltshire Trust in Grace Ward (which was closed to patients in 2005).
Henderson ward, eponymously named after Dr Henderson who came to work as a Thornbury GP in 1943, has a 24 bed capacity in-patient unit although currently 20 beds are being funded. It is run by a resident team of nurses led by Matron Michelle Jefferies with medical supervision by all of the local GPs in Thornbury and Almondsbury. Admissions are arranged by the patient’s own GP for rehabilitation, general supportive, respite or terminal care, for medical investigations or blood transfusion. Transfers are also made with the Gps’ and nurses’ agreement from acute hospitals in Bristol to supervise possible discharge home after further rehabilitation. Phsiotherapy, Occupational therapy and dietetic services are on site, but there are no laboratory or X-ray facilities. There is close liaison with the District Nursing team and Intermediate Care particulary at the time of discharge.
Opposite Henderson Ward is the Outpatients department which also houses the physiotherapy services and midwives. Consultants and assistant staff visit regularly from Southmead Hospital, running clinics in gynaecology, obstetrics, general medicine and care of the elderly, paediatrics, urology and dermatology for local referrals. There is also an audiology clinic. The outpatient department is also used by the Thornbury practices for antenatal clinics.
History of the Site
The present hospital site date from 1840 when Thornbury workhouse (“Spike House”), was built. There is also record of an “isolation hut” in Thornbury although this was remote from the current site. The current ward buildings were constructed 1880-1932 and eventually named after Drs. Grace and Henderson (Dr Douglas Henderson was Dr E M Grace’s son-in-law). The hospital had its own clinical teaching unit and nursing school, and farmed its own food including a vegetable garden and pigs. In the late 1990’s, the eastern end of the plot on the other side of the pre-fabricated outpatients department was sold for development. The workhouse building which was turned into residential flats and Beech House, Thornbury’s nursing home, was constructed at the other end, with private houses filling the rest of the site.
Our thanks to Mrs Carole Duckett and Thornbury Museum in helping to compile this page.
At the time of publishing, the future of the buildings and services at Thornbury hospital is tied into the Bristol Hospital Plan. This looks at the re-development of North Bristol Trust and its satellite facilities, which, if it goes ahead, would mean the centralisation of acute hospital services on the Southmead site. This would necessitate expansion of services and investment at a number of other sites including Thornbury.
Despite several Steering Group meetings the financing of replacement buildings for the outdated Victorian Wards and outpatient buildings has not moved forward. Dr Foubister and Partners continue to engage with the Commissioning Board over future developments