May 04, 2009
Beckenham Hospital as this was, has a history going back to Victorian times, but recently major hospital services have been centralised at Princess Royal Hospital at Farnborough, Kent. Local residents were not happy to lose the many valuable services that the hospital provided and so with the original houses of the original hospital in the front, a completely new building has risen on the site of most of the old. Some history of the original hospital can be seen on the walls near the X-Ray Department.
Beckenham Beacon was the name suggested by the winner of a competition to find a suitable new name, presumably it is intended to indicate that it is no longer a residential hospital but is a beacon for health services in the area.
Naturally those who are ill need to see their doctors, but for those suffering minor injuries during work days, there is a minor treatment department.
I am not sure that I am so happy about the way that old hospital buildings and their sites are demolished and some sold to developers, while the Government harp on about how many new hospitals they are building when they are just replacing and centralising them. This often means much longer journeys for patients for treatment and worryingly longer ambulance journeys when necessary. I am not sure that I like the financial arrangements that end up in Mr and Mrs Taxpayer being effectively saddled with the extra millions of debt either. While they were doing that perhaps they could have provided underground car parking for patients there as parking is already difficult in the area. At the same time this attempt at providing some essential services nearer peoples homes is a good idea. If it means that NHS Dentistry is more available and there are also walk in GP services for those registered there, as in the proposed polyclinics, that will be very helpful.
For those who like modern buildings, Beckenham Beacon seems to have been well designed with sensitivity to the local area, including the park next door. The brown roof contrasting with the light coloured, including glass, walls, make it a very attractive looking building. It has a very light and airy feeling inside and apart from some windowless waiting areas, it is a nice place to be in. I very much like the touch of including the original small buildings within the structure, which relieves what might otherwise have been a more overpowering modern building.
This is not a place to visit just for fun, but when you need to, hopefully the experience will be a good one.