The first reference to a hospital in Devizes is 1314 when John Wyt, a priest of Potterne, was presented to the Priory of the Hospital of St John the Baptist by the Mayor and Burgesses of Devizes.
The range of diseases treated by the hospitals of the day differs markedly from those of today.
The Hospital of St James and St Denis was created by the then Bishop of Salisbury to care for lepers and is first mentioned in 1337, although King John, on a visit to Devizes in March 1208, granted the lepers of the town a two-day fair on the vigil and feast of St Denis.
Devizes was visited by the plague in 1604, 1607 and 1644 and a pest house, what we would today call an isolation hospital, was set up.
A cholera hospital was set up in 1832 but closed soon after. An infectious diseases hospital was built by the canal in 1873 and this appears to have been the basis for today's community hospital.
According to the Victoria History of Wiltshire, a cottage hospital was opened in New Park Road in 1872, earlier efforts made in 1824 and 1832 to establish a local hospital having failed.
It was enlarged in 1887, Queen Victoria's golden jubilee, and in 1897, her diamond jubilee, and again in 1991 as a memorial to King Edward VII.
Before the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, patients had to pay for treatment, though, if totally destitute, they could be helped by charity.
One of the big fundraisers for the hospital was the annual hospital Sunday procession on the first Sunday in September.
This developed into Devizes Carnival, the first of which took place in 1912, and broadened into five days of fundraising, culminating in a big dance at the Corn Exchange and raising a total of £353, a huge sum of money at the time.
By the 1990s, however, the hospital was beginning to look its age and the rocky finances of the NHS as a whole demanded some hard decisions about the future of its bricks and mortar.
A confidential business plan developed by the Bath District Health Authority in September 1994 and leaked the following year, suggested replacing all cottage hospitals in Wiltshire with a community hospital in Chippenham and at Semington.
Devizes Action to Save our Hospital (DASH) appeared to have been successful but the recent Pathways for Change consultation set up by the Kennet and North Wiltshire Primary Care Trust came to much the same conclusion at its predecessor a decade earlier - and this time it looks like curtains for the Grand Old Lady of New Park Road.
Devizes to nearest District General Hospital
Medical Closures in Devizes
"My eldest son was one of the last babies cared for in the old Maternity Hospital (1977), my younger son was one of the first born in the “new Maternity” hospital (1978) and my grandson was one of the last at the maternity unit (2005).
During my time in Devizes we have seen the closure of St James’ Hospital, the Family Planning & Dentistry clinics, Maternity, Minor Injuries and Phlebotomy. Cross party community pressure groups such as DASH & DASH2 (Devizes Action to Save our Hospital) have tried to engage with Health Providers over the last 30 years. At a public meeting in the Corn Exchange, chaired by Michael Ancram MP in 1999 we were promised a new development at the Marshall Road site that would include, single bedded wards, full diagnostics, accommodation for a GP surgery and complimentary medicine, dentistry, and family planning etc. It even had a studio for Devizes Hospital Radio (I was chairman). There was to be accommodation for nurses and a respite facility for senior care."
The following contribution by Di Harris are extracts from the Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times over the last 30 years. This also indicated elections and who was Prime Minister and MP at the time.
Devizes Action to Save the Hospital - This was a cross party community represented pressure group.
DASH started in the early1990s
DASH 2 was launched in 2003
GENERAL ELECTION: 1 May 1997 – Tony Blair: Michael Ancram
G&H - Maternity Hospital
2 March 2001 - Being born in the back of a car travelling into Trowbridge and not a member of the NHS West Wilts Primary Care Group, I have a particular interest in being home grown. I am concerned about the unsubstantiated rumours. We are a community with an ethos towards caring and improving what we have. I would be grateful of any firm evidence to substantiate the speculation to be sent to me. Rest assured, subject to Government intervention, what we have we will hold.
GENERAL (AND LOCAL) ELECTION: 7 June 2001 – Tony Blair: Michael Ancram
G&H - Meeting on health merger
4 May 2001 - WILTSHIRE Health Authority officers are to meet with neighbouring authorities to discuss proposals for a merger. The latest reform of the NHS will result in a reduction of health authorities from 99 to 30 by 2004. Much of the authorities' work will be taken over by Primary Care Trusts and the 30 remaining health authorities will have a strategic role, covering a larger section of the population. Mr Milburn said: "By 2004 two thirds of existing health authorities will have disappeared. The 30 or so that remain will each cover an average population of 1.5 million."
G&H - Hospital plans resurrected
28 February 2002 - Work on building a new community hospital for Devizes could start as early as 2004 after the stalled consultation process on the new health unit restarted this month.
G&H - Health trust’s £2.8m deficit
12 December 2002 - ALL health services in Kennet and North Wiltshire are to come under review as the trust that runs the hospitals battles to cut millions of pounds from its budget. Kennet and North Wiltshire Primary Care Trust is expected to be £2.8 million in the red by the end of the financial year in March. And next year its finances are set to become even worse because of the way Government funding is calculated.
G&H - March showed strong feelings
20 February 2003 - As a local councillor and a member of the former pressure group DASH Devizes Action to Save our Hospital I felt privileged and heartened to be amongst a very large Devizes community crowd that had gathered last Thursday for a Save Our Maternity Unit protest march through the town.
G&H - Town hospital is vital
31 July 2003 - I have lived in Devizes all my life and now, at the age of 60, I’m very distressed to read we are having our local hospital taken from us and no other plans have been made for another one.
G&H - Hospital is vital
27 November 2003 - I was rather alarmed to read that Dash 2 were fearful that a proposed new care home scheme for Devizes could scupper the plans for a new Devizes Hospital.
G&H - Hospital fight
16 September 2004 - Devizes MP Michael Ancram has demanded an assurance that a replacement Devizes Hospital will be built on land earmarked at Green Lane.
GENERAL (AND LOCAL) ELECTION: 5 May 2005 – Tony Blair/Gordon Brown: Michael Ancram
G&H - Hospitals must stay
8 December 2005 - The decision by the Kennet and North Wilts PCT to reduce the opening hours of the Devizes Minor Injury Unit is a further step to cut back on the service offered at Devizes Hospital and must be deplored.
G&H - Hospital closures revealed
6 April 2006 - Health chiefs today revealed their plans for closure of community hospitals throughout Wiltshire
G&H - Speak up on health
20 April 2006 - THE survey of the proposed closure and changes in local NHS services, published in last week's Gazette, is a timely reminder that those of us concerned by possible loss should say so, loud and clear.
G&H - DASH will fight on
24 August 2006 - DASH2 welcomes any project that will provide better medical facilities for the people of Devizes. The fact that the centre will be run by a private company using NHS money is a political issue that leaves many people feeling uncomfortable. As DASH2 is non-political, we will not comment on that. Whilst we are pleased to see that the treatment centre is being built in Green Lane, we must not forget that this is not part of Pathways for Change. The new centre will not provide the facilities that we will need when we lose our hospital.
G&H - Hospital decision delayed
8 September 2006 - Health boss Carol Clarke’s parting shot today as she quit her position as chief executive was to announce the long-awaited decision on community hospitals expected on Thursday was to be delayed indefinitely.
G&H - Hospital decision delayed again
2 January 2007 - A decision on the fate of community hospitals in Wiltshire has been delayed yet again.
G&H - Hospital protesters release balloons
6 January 2007 - Two hundred people braved the rain on Saturday to show their support to keep hospital services in Devizes.
G&H - End of 700 year service
1 March 2007 - WHEN Devizes Community Hospital closes its doors within the next two years, it will end the presence of a hospital in the town from at least the 14th century. A confidential business plan developed by the Bath District Health Authority in September 1994 and leaked the following year, suggested replacing all cottage hospitals in Wiltshire with a community hospital in Chippenham and at Semington.
2007 – The Maternity Unit and Devizes Hospital closed
G&H - HEALTH CRISIS: Health care is getting better says man at helm
23 October 2008 - Jeff James, the man in charge of the NHS in Wiltshire, says health care in the county is being transformed. Wiltshire Primary Care Trust did not improve on the lowest rating of weak for quality of services in the annual assessment by the independent Health-care Commission but Mr James says services have improved since he came to Wiltshire two years ago. Last year saw the closure of community hospital beds, five minor injury units and Devizes Maternity Unit plus the setting up of 11 Neighbourhood Teams made up of nurses, therapists and support workers who treat patients at home.
UNITARY AUTHORITY FORMED: 1 April 2009
LOCAL ELECTION: 4 June 2009
G&H - Hospital pledge
16 April 2010 - Further to my letter of the week regarding developing the Community Hospital site, I have had a response from Jeff James, Chief Executive, NHS Wiltshire, stating categorically that there is ‘no truth in the rumour that the site has been sold or is being marketed.”
GENERAL ELECTION: 6 May 2010 – David Cameron: Claire Perry
G&H - Hospital transfer deal mooted
27 September 2011 - NHS Wiltshire is looking into whether the ownership of community hospitals can be transferred to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital.
Early 2012 – petition for Minor Injuries Unit. Promise of a new Urgent Care Unit.
LOCAL ELECTIONS: 2 May 2013
G&H - Return our hospital
15 June 2014 - on May 30, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, stated that he wanted smaller community hospitals to be used more, as patients, especially the elderly, would be treated nearer to their homes.
GENERAL ELECTION: 7 May 2015 – David Cameron/Theresa May: Claire Perry
G&H - History of Devizes Hospital Fight
20 November 2015 - THERE were smiles all round in Devizes last week when it was announced that the town is to get an urgent care centre, but those with long memories celebrated in somewhat muted tones. “The health service will offer 8am-8pm seven-day opening and having somewhere local to go for minor injuries and ailments will be a boon for one of the most remote communities in Wiltshire. Add in all the current facilities at the hospital site along with access to X-ray, and we'll have almost all that we asked for, though beds and maternity are still missing.
24 November 2015 – The way people in Devizes access local primary care services is set to change. Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and doctors from five GP practices are working together to develop an Urgent Care Centre, to transform same day appointments for minor illness and injuries.
08 November 2016 – People from Devizes and the surrounding villages are invited to view plans showing the proposed location and outline footprint for Devizes Urgent Care Centre on Friday 18 November 2016.
GENERAL ELECTION: 8 June 2017 – Theresa May/Boris Johnson: Claire Perry
26 July 2017 – Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body yesterday approved a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) which identifies a preferred model and way forward for the future provision of community and primary care estate in Wiltshire.
G&H - Silence on hospital
17 November 2017 - What has happened to the proposed building of a hospital in Devizes? At one time the site looked as if it was going ahead, and now nothing. I have written to our MP on two occasions asking this question without any response.
05 April 2018 – We are thrilled to announce that the GP-led Health Centre for Devizes can move to its next phase, after a commitment of £7million to funding.
G&H - Devizes health centre gets planning go-ahead
21 May 2018 - PLANS for the long awaited GP led urgent care centre in Devizes took another decisive step forward this week when it was announced plans for the project have been given the go-ahead by Wiltshire Council.
Matt Hancock Tweet
13 November 2019 - Devizes with @danny_kruger to discuss the new integrated Care Centre we’re building – spades in the ground soon.
G&H - MP says deal is done on Devizes health project
24 October 2019 - DEVIZES' long awaited Care Centre, which aims to provide better healthcare for locals, has got the final go-ahead. The business case for the £10 million project has now been approved by the Government, ending years of uncertainty, and work is due to start in 2020.
G&H - Matt Hancock visits site of new Devizes health centre
13th November 2019 - CABINET minister Matt Hancock came to Devizes on Wednesday to pledge the government’s support to build a new health centre on Marshall Road.
He met Conservative candidate Danny Kruger, who is the son of Bake Off judge Prue Leith, to confirm the development is to begin in autumn 2020. Mr Hancock hopes doors will open by September 2021.
He said: “Devizes needs more health facilities and it seems only right that it’s going to get an upgrade.
“I’ve been helping to unlock money from local Clinical Commissioning Groups to make this possible.
“Only a Conservative government will see the construction of this new health centre begin next year.”
The £10m health centre is planned to be a minor injuries unit built directly next door to Devizes Treatment Centre.
GENERAL ELECTION: 19 December 2019 – Boris Johnson: Danny Kruger
Devizes Area Board - CCG - Update on Devizes Health Centre
13 January 2020 -
Regarding the integrated care centre, the outline business case had been approved and would now need to be assessed by procurement. This process would take approximately 12 weeks. The CCG had agreed to continue funding development of the full business case, which would take another 9 months to a year. So, although progress was being made it was slow.
In response to questions it was stated that work would probably start in the first or second quarter of 2021.
A member of the audience asked whether there would be a minor injuries unit at the care centre as with population increase it would seem like a good idea, that made ecological and economic sense. It was explained that it was hoped that minor injuries could be treated at the new centre. The proposals were not that different to the Urgent Care Centre that was originally proposed. However, they did not want a walk in and wait facility. The idea was for people to telephone and get triaged, then attend the centre as necessary.
It was explained that the old hospital would not be shut until the new building was up and running, there were still people there.
There was a shortage of GP’s in the Devizes area, this was also reflected nationally. With the population living longer and many people living with complex health issues this was a problem as demand was going up. Two of the Devizes practices had been advertising for Doctors for over a year. One way to combat the issues was to employ more non-doctors, for example to have a Primary Care Network that utilised nurse practitioners, paramedics, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Devizes had one of the most developed Primary Care Networks in Wiltshire, but more Doctors were needed.
Wiltshire Times - New Devizes MP has written to health secretary for centre to be given priority
23 January 2020 - JUST two months after health secretary Matt Hancock came to Devizes to pledge the Government’s support for a new £10 million health centre the start date has again been pushed back.
G&H - CCG chairman apologises for the ‘painfully slow’ progress over Devizes health centre
28 January 2020 - HEALTH boss Richard Sandford-Hill has spoken of his frustration at the amount of time it is taking the NHS to give final approval for the new health care centre in Devizes.
April 2020: Merger of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups to form BSWCCG.
G&H - No more births in Trowbridge as doors close of the final time
19 June 2020 - After the controversial decision to close Trowbridge’s birth day centre, proud parents chris and Emma Roxburgh found themselves holding the last baby to be born there.
BSWCCG – Public invited to have its say on local health and care as part of new interactive citizens’ panel
8 July 2020 - anyone wishing to join is encouraged to visit www.junglegreenmrc.co.uk/panel
BSWCCG - Construction will start in 2021 and the building will be open in 2022.
Current web page 26 March 2021 - The plans for the new integrated health care centre will incorporate many of the services currently provided at Devizes Community Hospital. In addition, the facility will accommodate increased primary care capacity, out of hospital urgent care services, extended hours services provision and a range of other health care services.