Thornbury Hospital

Thornbury Hospital is 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, but is currently closed since 2018 pending proposed re-development. The hospital has previously included an in-patient rehabilitation ward, an outpatient department, a physiotherapy suite, and offices for the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health 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, was used as 24 bed capacity in-patient unit managed by Sirona Healthcare with a resident team of nurses and medical supervision by local GPs in Thornbury. Opposite Henderson ward is the Outpatients department which also housed the physiotherapy services and midwives. Consultants and assistant staff were visiting regularly from Southmead hospital (until 2018), running clinics in gynaecology, obstetrics, general medicine and care of the elderly, paediatrics, urology and dermatology for local referrals.  The outpatient department was also used by the Thornbury practices for antenatal and “wart” clinics.

History of The Site

The present hospital site dates from 1840 when Thornbury workhouse (“Spike House”), was built. There is also record of an “isolation hut” in Thornbury (for infectious diseases) 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 EM Grace’s son-in-law – see also Practice History). The hospital had its own clinical teaching unit and nursing school, and farmed its own food including a vegetable garden and pigs. Other previous facilities included a maternity delivery suite in the current outpatient building and a casualty department in the 1960s. At its height, the in-patient medical ward provided 105 beds. In the late 1990s, the eastern end of the plot on the opposite side of the outpatients department to the main ward was sold by the Regional Health Authority for development, including the workhouse building which was turned into residential flats. Beech House, Thornbury’s nursing home, was constructed at the other end, and private houses filled the rest of the site.

Future Development

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 has involved the centralisation of acute hospital services on the Southmead site and the closure of Frenchay. In January 2011 a proposal was made for an intended re-build, with  plans for more extensive out-patient and investigative facilities, possibly incorporating the Health Centre.  It currently still seems unlikely that public funds will be available for any new development, despite the funds raised from the sell-off of land for housing and Beech House Nursing Home. Until the site closed at the end of 2018, Thornbury Hospital had seemed to have far survived several rounds of fluctuating political and organisational antipathy toward Cottage Hospitals, but statements from NHS England since 2014 have suggested a more favourable attitude towards local hospital services.  Several politicians have visited the site over the last few years while actively participating in the debate about its future, including Steve Webb, Norman Lamb, Luke Hall, and Jeremy Hunt.  In December 2017, the newly merged South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset CCGs requested a further review of plans for the re-development of the site.

At the end of 2018 with plans in development for an integrated Thornbury Health Hub including a new Health Centre, outpatients and limited rehabilitation beds, the Thornbury hospital site was closed except for limited antenatal clinics. Henderson ward was relocated on the top floor of the Grace Care Centre off Morton Way, and other services and clinics such as physiotherapy were dispersed to  other sites in the community. However the new bid for central government funds  was again unsuccessful, and the Thornbury Hospital  site remains essentially closed off while plans are re-considered.

Click on this link for more information on proposed Thornbury Hospital development from South Gloucestershire CCG.

Our thanks to Mrs. Carole Duckett, Dr. Mike Watts and Thornbury Museum in helping the practice to compile this page.