£18.6Million Health Campus In Portsmouth

A 98-year-old former nurse - who survived a raid on a hospital during The Blitz - will be a VIP guest at the official opening of a new £18.6m health facility in Portsmouth this week.

Jane Allen is one of nearly 30 former staff at St Mary's Hospital in Milton who will visit the health campus developed on around one-third of the former hospital site.

Mrs Allen, who lives in Wiltshire, joined St Mary's as a probationer/student nurse in January 1936, qualified as a state registered nurse during her time in the city and left in late 1940 to pursue her preferred field of midwifery in Swindon.

She was working on the labour ward when a Luftwaffe bomb exploded nearby, damaging the nurses' home. Fortunately, non-one was injured.

Other retired NHS or former St Mary's staff attending include a former deputy matron, midwives, two cleaners, a ward manager, radiologist, theatre sister and a mother and daughter who both worked as secretaries in the Oncology Department.

St Mary's Community Health Campus - which welcomed its first patients last December - will be opened by Dr Jim Hogan, the chief clinical officer for the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group from 2.30pm to 4pm on Thursday 18th October.

Dr Hogan was keen to open the event to former staff, who will be given a tour of the facility.

Many of the former services on the old hospital site moved to Cosham with the major redevelopment of Queen Alexandra Hospital. But most of the old buildings have now been demolished and cleared.

The health campus scheme - which was mostly funded by the Department of Health - mainly involved redeveloping the former maternity and paediatric blocks at St Mary's.

Its facilities and services include a new Out-Patients Department, a midwife-led maternity centre, sexual health services, podiatry, blood tests, speech and language therapy and chronic disease management.