Hospital affiliations … in Downton?

January 7, 2016

I was tickled to see the topic of hospital affiliations become a hot topic on the final season of Downton Abbey, despite the media poo-pooing (“Is the saga of the Downton Cottage Hospital the dullest plotline in TV history?” and “Downton Abbey’s dreary hospital storyline a symptom of show’s slow and painful death” and from the Guardian: “… Cousin Violet and Cousin Isobel are at war over something very tedious about a hospital”).

Selfishly, I’m hoping that the Downton Abbey debate will make my job easier. Affiliations can be hard to explain, but the season’s first episode took a good first step toward exploring the issues.

It’s 1925, and the Downton Cottage Hospital board hears the shocking news:  the Royal Yorkshire County Hospital is interested in taking over! The parring amongst board members begins: We will lose local control! But it will make fundraising more efficient! We don’t want to be run by some faceless group in York! We’ll get more access to innovative cures!

These are all reasonable questions and concerns for a community to take up, even now. I hope that the debate between Mrs. Crowley and the Dowager Countess will continue to explore these issues, and more, such as: What’s the county hospital really offering? How does the quality of the two hospitals compare? Do their service offerings complement or compete? (Does politics make strange bedfellows? Not according to Cousin Isobel!)

Just for fun, a few of the WSHA staff are going to do a post-Downton conference call on Monday morning. We’ll also polish up our knowledge of medical history. Did you know that penicillin was still 3 years from being discovered? Join us! Click here to download the appointment right to your calendar.


Mary Kay Clunies-Ross
Senior Vice President, Membership and Communications


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