A doctor who came to the Horton General Hospital 33 years ago and spent the majority of her career as its accident and emergency consultant retired last week.
Committed to the survival of Banbury’s general hospital, Grizelda George bought a Save Our Horton T-shirt, joined a 2,000-strong protest at People’s Park and was one of a human chain formed around the hospital during the 2005-06 fight to retain services.
Dr George also spoke out bravely and forcefully against a proposed major down-grading of the hospital by writing a persuasive article in a special all-Horton edition of the Banbury Guardian in 2005.
“I feel absolutely certain we did the right thing and the right decision was made (to save acute services) in spite of the cost of the solution,” she said. “We resisted very strongly and we survived. Since then we have got bigger but we have not lost the threats.”
She said working in a small hospital has the advantage of enabling good communication.
“Because it’s small you know people and you can pop into other departments and discuss patients and collaborate. It’s more formal and protocol-driven in larger units,” she said.
Dr George said she has seen a huge and interesting range of emergencies in her years at A&E. She took up the position fully in 1994.
She and her husband Christopher Graham – a mammalian embriologist working on research funded by Cancer Research – have brought up two children, both of whom have been treated at the Horton.
Because of her shift work, her husband has often acted as the family cook. For one five- year period she had to do all the Horton’s on-call requirements.
“He took back cooking duties after he was given fish fingers and beans too many times,” she said.
There have been huge changes during Dr George’s 37-year medical career, ranging from A&E waiting time targets to the huge changes in medical technology.
“When I started there were a couple of CT scanners at Guys Hospital where I trained but none here; now we have fantastic scanners and MRI,” she said.
“Things have changed so much that now a patient could have a defibrillator implanted in his chest that will electronically alert a consultant in Oxford if a problem occurs.”
Dr George’s position is to be shared by two consultants.