Spire St Anthony’s hospital celebrated the official opening of the Marie Therese ward following a £1 million refurbishment. I was delighted to be invited to cut the ribbon in the presence of former patient, Clare Park and orthopaedic consultant Mr Phillip Mitchell.

I am always please to see investments being made into healthcare facilities here, so it is wonderful to be able to officially open the recently refurbished ward, to meet the patients and see the artwork created by Clare.

Clare is a former professional ballet dancer turned award winning fine art photographer. Her work has been widely exhibited in permanent collections at the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A Royal Photographic Society Collection. The picture chosen by the team for the ward, typifies the characteristics of Clare’s work, her strong personal style and the focus on movement.

Clare underwent two hip replacements at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital in 2017 under the care of consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Phillip Mitchell. Despite being only 60 years old, Clare had already endured many years of intense pain and was told she needed new hips back in 2003. She delayed surgery and coped with the pain for many years by trying to ‘exercise out of it’, whilst caring for her mother and then her father. It was only when her father died that she decided it was time to address the problem.

Clare explains: “I was in an enormous amount of pain and I couldn’t walk, sleep or even eat properly. When my late father died I decided it was time to put it off no longer. I was at my lowest state of mind and body and knew I had no choice but to grit my teeth and seek help.

“I was recommended to see Mr Mitchell by my GP and from the first consultation at St Anthony’s I was able to put my trust fully into his skilful hands. When you enter the hospital it delivers an extremely friendly, organised and encouraging sense of purpose. As an anxious patient Mr Mitchell’s calm manner and his anaesthetist Dr Kidd’s positivity, immediately put me at ease. The wonderful nursing care got me through it emotionally and physically. It was still quite traumatic for me, but I felt loved and supported throughout my treatment and recovery. There were at least 20 people in total looking after me and I’d like to thank each and every one of them. All the nurses were just incredible, so patient and so expert.

“The operations were a huge success and my life has been transformed by the exceptional skill, commitment and kindness of everyone working in this hospital.”

Bryan Harty, Hospital Director at Spire St Anthony’s, is very pleased with the refurbishment, which includes one of Clare’s photographs: “This project is one of many going on at the hospital, but this refurbishment was undertaken following consideration of patient feedback about the hospital environment.

“The ward is named after Mere Marie Therese who founded the Daughters of the Cross back in the 1800s. We pride ourselves on the quality of the nursing care and dedication the team provides at this hospital and we will always strive to maintain the tradition St Anthony’s is renowned for.

“We have just invested £2.7 million in a new MRI scanner and more investment is planned as this hospital increasingly attracts the best surgeons and addresses the needs of patients who travel to us from the local area and right across the UK”.