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History of the Debenham practice

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Otley since at least the First World War. For most of the time these were single-handed and between them covered the same territory as the present practice area. There were no purpose-built practice premises until Paddy Fielder created the Debenham Surgery which opened in 1983. Before this, Dr Hutt practised from the old kitchen of his private house in Debenham and a cottage annexe on the Helmingham Estate. Dr Odlum practised from an unconverted and unheated bungalow in Otley where the patients waited in the garage which opened into the snow during the winter. He also used a private parlour in Grundisburgh, a front room in Tuddenham and a kitchen in Witnesham. Debenham and Otley practices merged in 1983 with the retirement of Dr Odlum and the arrival of Rob Grundy. In 1986 a purpose-built surgery was opened in Chapel Road in the centre of Otley after two years in a nice warm portacabin beside the village hall, which provided the waiting facilities. Grundisburgh Surgery in Charles Avenue opened in 1994. This followed eighteen months in the Dog public house, which allowed privacy, comfort and facilities for dispensing, and seven years in the Parish Rooms, where full facilities were provided despite everything having to be locked up in a single room once surgeries finished - notes, drugs, reception, even the computer terminal and its printer, were wheeled into the communal hall, leaving the doctor's room as a neat little consulting and examining room. When Dr Hutt retired at the age of 74, David Egan was appointed to the great relief of Paddy and Rob. With his enthusiastic support, a terrific momentum for change continued to build up, resulting in our approval as a training practice, fully-integrated computerisation, our move into fund-holding and a rise in our list size justifying a fourth doctor. Continued as part 2.

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