Help celebrate a medical milestone

An old photograph showing Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery
An old photograph showing Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery

A HISTORIC GP practice is looking for people to join in with its centenary celebrations.

Easington and Peterlee Medical Group (EPMG) was founded in 1911 and led by a team of dedicated and vocationally-minded GPs it grew to become the largest in the district.

Greg Moorhouse.

Greg Moorhouse.

It was one of the first GP training practices in the UK.

Arbroath House, in Seaside Lane, Easington, was the base for the medical group and is now run by leading medical provider IntraHealth which provides NHS services.

The current facilities at Arbroath House allow for a full range of primary health care services, including minor operations, health promotion clinics and nursing.

This is in stark contrast to the facilities when it opened with the first Practice Nurse not employed until 1913 and was the only source of ancillary help for over thirty years.

Arbroath House,Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery

Arbroath House,Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery

Even in the 1940s there was no access to laboratory or radiological facilities and no disposable syringes.

The surgery accommodation consisted of a 12ft square consulting room and a waiting room that was “slightly bigger”.

Other medical notes mention Nurse Robson who was known as “little nurse” or “little angel” as she stood just 4ft 10in tall. She worked from from 1913 to 1959 and helped in the surgery, acted as chaperone, attended to dressings and did an afternoon surgery for women.

During the First World War she also visited with a horse and trap with a Mr Hewitson.

Practice nurses were not employed again until 1967 when Sister Marion Priestman was appointed. Records show that she may have slept on the premises and done night calls as well as visits to the Colliery day and night.

EPMG was incorporated into IntraHealth in 2008 and now runs out of Arbroath House and the William Brown Centre, in Peterlee, and provides primary health care services to over 16,000 patients.

Bosses are now looking for former staff and patients to help them celebrate the landmark 100th anniversary of the historic practice.

IntraHealth, which has its head office in the William Brown Centre, has 25 centres across the country.

Managing director Greg Moorhouse said: “The Easington and Peterlee Medical Group was the at the forefront of GP provision a century ago.

“It would be wonderful for any former staff, patients and people in the community to share with us their memories of years gone by.

“We want to ensure that everyone understands our proud lineage and the rich legacy we hold from previous generations of primary care teams.

“Now, in 2011, we are still at the forefront of new developments and are excited and optimistic about the future.”

Anyone interested in getting involved with the centenary celebrations should contact IntraHealth’s patient and community liason officer Elizabeth Carroll on 07920 210039 or in writing to the William Brown Centre, Manor Way, Peterlee. She can also be contacted at elizabeth.carroll@nhs.net.