History of Hurworth Medical Practice
Info/Practice-historyLast Updated :
There has been a Medical Practice in the Hurworth Villages since at least the 19th Century. The River Tees flows round the oxbow from Croft to Middleton One Row and the Hurworth Practice provides care to people living on either side of the river and also to some people living in nearby Darlington.
In living memory there are patients who remember with much affection Dr Robert Tindall who lived and worked in Chatwin House. There is an old picture on the surgery waiting room wall which shows a man driving a horse and carriage and this is thought to be Dr Tindall. His predecessor was Dr Stevenson who lived at Crossbank Hill. Dr King followed Dr Tindall and he practiced from a Surgery to the rear of Eden House accessed by a narrow passage beside the house. Drs Mark and Eva Robson took over the practice in 1968 and converted some scullery accommodation to the rear of Greenwells into a Doctors Surgery. On Dr Eva Robson’s retirement in 1983 Dr Ian Bagshaw joined Dr Mark Robson for one year and then Dr Gillian B G Williams joined Dr Bagshaw when Dr Mark Robson retired. They continued to work from the surgery behind Greenwells. Many patients remember sitting in the tiny waiting room heated by an electric bar fire, sitting on collapsible wooden seats waiting their turn as there were no appointments at this time. There were less than 2000 patients in 1983 but over the next few years this number increased to 5000. It was clear that something had to be done.
The practice was most fortunate in having the support of the Brothers of the Order of St. John at Rockliffe Hall and an area of land became available in Rockliffe Park when the Brothers vacated Rockliffe Hall and built Rockliffe Court. Drs Bagshaw and Williams employed a local builder to build a new Doctors surgery and on 28 October 1989 the Surgery was opened by Lady Masham of Ilton. The new surgery permitted the employment of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners as well as other members of ancillary staff. In a very short time it was clear that a further extension was needed and this further development took place just in time to allow the practice to welcome and accommodate a third doctor: Dr Alison Macnaughton-Jones who joined the practice in 2003. In 2011 Dr Ian Bagshaw retired and he was replaced by Dr Alistair Baines.
The Hurworth practice was historically always a dispensing practice meaning that patients would leave their consultation with a dispensed prescription in their possession if this was necessary. Over the years the dispensing of prescriptions became more regulated and a Pharmacist applied to open a chemist’s shop in the village. There was local public opposition to this plan and a meeting was held at The Grange at which the feelings of the patients were expressed. Later the Doctors felt that the introduction of a Pharmacy with a Pharmacist but in close proximity to the surgery would be an asset to all and consequently the Pharmacy was built.