Fractured foot patient is first at new Cromer Hospital

A patient with a fractured foot was the historic first visitor to the new �15m Cromer Hospital today as it opened for business.

The patient was first in line at the minor injuries unit, which was the first part of the new facility to open - more than 15 years after it was first discussed.

Visitor number two had a bruised elbow, according to a hospital spokesman.

David Prior, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust, which owns and runs Cromer Hospital, paid tribute Cromer widow Sagle Bernstein, whose �11m legacy in 2000 paid most of the costs.

He said: 'In Britain, I think philanthropic bequests are a wonderful way for people to leave a long-term memory.'

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Inflation means Mrs Bernstein's legacy is now worth �12m, and goes alongside a later legacy of �1.5m from another widow, Phyllis Cox of Bacton.

The two have their names immortalised at the new hospital in the shape of the Bernstein Minor Injuries Unit and the Phyllis Cox Audiology Unit.

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A condition of Mrs Bernstein's will was that her sister would also be remembered at the hospital. She gives her name to the Muriel Thoms Day Procedure Unit.

The move from the existing hospital on Mill Road to the new one behind it will continue over the coming two weekends.

Today, first to move were the minor injuries unit, imaging department and administrative offices.

They will be followed by the ophthalmology department, day procedure room and treatment bays on March 10 and 11. Last to move will be the out-patient areas and audiology department on March 17 and 18.

At the moment, old and new are alongside each other, with staff and services soon to transfer from the 1930s buildings at the front of the Mill Road site to the up-to-date complex at the rear.

In the coming months, though, most of the old hospital will be demolished to make way for a car park, including charges for the first time, and landscaping.

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