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Our heritage

The Foundation Years

The Horder Centre was founded in 1954 by Cecilia Bochenek with Dr Joyce Peake, as a charity to provide care and support to those suffering with arthritis. It was named after its first President Lord Horder, a famous physician in his day.

Cecilia Bochenek contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of six; Cecilia’s life was dedicated to helping others with similar health conditions to her own.  Dr Joyce Peake, one of the first women graduates in medicine at a time when women were rarely found in the profession, became the charity’s first Medical Director.

In 1960 Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin, and Ava, presented the charity with 13 acres of land, situated in the Ashdown Forest, in Crowborough.  In memory of this donation the inpatient ward was later renamed the Dufferin Ward after the Marchioness. Following this donation a fundraising campaign culminated in the opening of The Horder Centre in 1966, by HRH Princess Margaret, who became the third President, after Lady Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. The site soon became a popular medical centre and residential home for people suffering from arthritis. However, the advancement of drug therapy, such as steroids, thankfully negated the need for such facilities and people suffering from arthritis were able to care for themselves in their own homes and communities. During this same period many elderly people retired to the south coast, which necessitated a different healthcare need. In 1989, the first operating suite was opened and The Horder Centre became an elective orthopaedic centre, specialising in joint replacement surgery.

A new era for the Charity

Expansion, modernisation and continual improvement are perhaps the words which best characterise the new era for The Horder Centre which began when its current Chief Executive, Diane Thomas, was appointed in 2001. Today, the charity has continued to progress and The Horder Centre has developed into a vibrant 21st century hospital, built and designed around the concepts of a therapeutic environment. It is respected nationally as a centre of orthopaedic excellence and was recently praised by Prime Minister David Cameron for its superb patient outcomes.

The charity has undergone a number of name changes over the years, reflecting the changes in the health service, society and its own aspirations.  A very recent change was to Horder Healthcare, a name to reflect the charity’s ambitions to continue to develop, grow and diversify; to work with the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and new healthcare economies; to provide services, benefitting ever increasing numbers of people in the communities we serve.

Horder Healthcare is now opening smaller units for patients in their own communities across the South East, which primarily provide physiotherapy services and, where appropriate, also provide elements of the pre and postoperative care-pathway of The Horder Centre.

The National Health Service has recently undergone one of the biggest reorganisations in its history. April 2013 will see the new system come into operation, following introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which includes the establishment of the new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Continued growth for the charity

In December 2013 Horder Healthcare purchased a site in Seaford, East Sussex.

The land once belonged to the Catholic Church and it was just green space. The local authority purchased the land and the building known as The Clinic was built in the early sixties for Health Visitors, Midwives, District nurses and School nurses.

During this time there was a large shed full of nursing and health visiting equipment. It was a lovely building, very light and cheerful and it was very popular with young mums as there were volunteers helping with  the baby clinics and providing tea and biscuits and it was a nice social place to meet.  There were also chiropodists working there and a school dental department.

In 1974 the building passed to the local health authority from the council due to re-organisation.  In 1986 a new health centre was opened in the town and the GPs moved from their new premises along with a vast majority of the staff and services.

The original clinic building then became a Day Hospital for the elderly, with physiotherapy, other therapies including occupational health therapies and geriatrician outpatient’s clinics.

Soon after this with the closure of the large mental hospital at Hellingly, mental health services which were run by the same health authority were brought into the community and shared the building with the Day Hospital services. With the onset of Primary Care Trusts, the mental health services separated from the general community services and acquired the building. Gradually the day hospital services reduced from this site with only physiotherapy service remaining for one or two sessions a week alongside the mental health services.  These services remained until 2012 when Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust relocated their services and put the building up for sale which was bought by Horder Healthcare in December 2013.

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