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Celebrating 80 special years of the Churchill Hospital

21/07/2022

Staff enjoyed cakes and ice cream as they celebrated the 80th anniversary of the much-loved Churchill Hospital in Oxford on Wednesday 20 July.

Oxford Hospitals Charity provided the goodies, including an ice cream van, to mark the special occasion with colleagues and volunteers at the hospital, which is part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).

From the post room to portering, and renal to radiotherapy, the first activity of the day was to hand out cupcakes to as many staff members as possible.

In the afternoon, hospital teams were treated to ices from an ice cream van especially funded by the charity. The atmosphere was fantastic, with staff members getting in on the action and taking back ice creams for team members unable to leave their departments.

Ella Cooper, Programme Officer at Oxford Hospitals Charity, coordinated the day's events and said: "After the testing times we've had in our hospitals of late, it's lovely to be able to celebrate something really special with staff. 

"This marks a very important day in the hospital's history and the charity felt that this gesture would be a great way to commemorate it and to thank the staff for all the important work that they do here."

Donna-Sue Wright, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Convener at the Churchill, played a pivotal role in helping to make sure all areas of the hospital were reached.

She said: "The day created such a buzz around the hospital. It was great to see staff enjoying their cakes and ice creams provided by the Oxford Hospitals Charity.

"This hospital holds a very special place in my heart and I was glad to be able to do my part in helping with the celebrations."

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Executive Officer at OUH, said: "Happy 80th birthday to the Churchill Hospital. I would like to thank all members of staff, past and present who deliver excellent and compassionate care to the populations that we serve."

Wartime History

Steeped in history, the Churchill Hospital was founded by the Ministry of Health as an Emergency Medical Service hospital for local air raid casualties before being leased to the medical services of the United States Army. 

When the American authorities left, Oxford City Council took over the buildings and it was reopened as a conventional hospital. Images from its wartime past can be found throughout the Churchill site.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the hospital is now a centre of excellence for cancer services and other specialities, including renal services and transplant, clinical and medical oncology, dermatology, chest medicine, and palliative care.

The Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre and the Surgery and Diagnostics Centre were built in 2009 as part of a major new development at the Churchill.

Oxford Hospitals Charity contributed £3 million towards the creation of the new centre and continues to provide funding for specialist medical equipment, major improvements to wards and departments, and support for patients and hospital staff.