In the Beginning

Westbourne Medical Centre originates from the Victorian Bodley Scott practice. Samuel King Scott MD of Brighton (1818-1865) had 14 children and his sons were hugely influential in the history of General Practice in Bournemouth:

-Thomas Bodley Scott, set up a practice in Bournemouth in 1874 before becoming mayor in 1924 and died in office that year.

-Ronald Bodley Scott too worked in general practice in Bournemouth before leaving to become the Queen's physician and was knighted.

-Bernard Bodley Scott, qualified from Barts in MRCS and LSA at Guys in 1881 and moved to Bournemouth having worked at Sussex County Hospital for a few years. He set up a practice at ‘Shiplake’ on Poole Road and was later joined by his eldest son Maitland, who qualified from Guys in 1912. The practice moved to Avon House on West Cliff Road in the 1930s which was, built by Maitland’s sister Elisabeth, architect of Stratford-Upon Avon’s Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. Maitland practiced here until his sudden death in 1942.

-Arthur Bodley Scott, qualified in 1908 and became a general practitioner at 91 Wimborne Road. (The Winton Health Centre is derived from this practice)

The Next Stage

Stuart Robertson (1888-1961) was one of fifteen children of a doctor practising in Dumbarton. All ten boys went to Glasgow University. Eight qualified in Medicine. Stuart at first studied Architecture but turned to medicine after his father’s death. He served in the RAMC in France, Gallipoli Ireland and Russia in the First War and was awarded the MC. After the war he practised in Margate, but in 1940 nearly all his patients were evacuated and so he moved to Bournemouth where he hoped his brother Dr Morton Robertson, who had practised in Bournemouth for 20 years, would help him find work. This was unsuccessful and so Stuart rented a house in Talbot Woods treating a few patients as a single-handed practitioner.

Opportunity arose for Stuart following Maitland’s death when, as suggested by Maitland’s widow, he bought Avon House. He moved there in 1943 and effectively re-established the Bernard Scott practice.

The birth of the NHS

In mid- June 1948, two weeks before the birth of the NHS, James Fisher joined Stuart Robertson; James bought a third share in Stuart’s practice for £2000.

On 5th July 1948 the NHS began to function. Bournemouth became a "closed area" and no new doctors were admitted to the list of the Bournemouth Executive Council for the next six years.

It had been believed that the NHS would not be adopted by certain areas. This was not the case. Private patients unexpectedly signed onto the list and although elderly wealthy patients remained private, they soon passed away and development of an NHS list became imperative.

Opportunity to expand the practice came that same July when an elderly single-handed GP, Charles Hawkins, had a ‘bad turn’. Clerk to the Executive Council told Fisher, as there was no formal procedure for taking over the practice, that if he was interested in the practice then he should quickly source some rooms and pick up what work he could.

A dentist in Redbreast Road was not using his rooms owing to illness, and so patients were soon recruited and seen there; about half of Hawkins’ patients signed on in the first three months. However, adequate rooms only became available when Fisher bought 125 Castle Lane from Charles Hawkins in 1950.

In 1953, Graham Robertson (1926-2004) joined James Fisher. Graham was Stuart Robertson’s nephew. He had qualified BM Bch from Magdalen, Oxford in 1949 and has just completed his National Service and an assistantship in Port Talbot.

In 1954 they opened Bournemouth's first purpose-built practice centre at 85 Castle Lane. (This was moved to a larger site in 1985 in Tolpuddle, now known as the James Fisher Surgery)

In the late fifties John and David Granger joined the practice. John Granger had been at Oxford with Graham Robertson and joined as a partner in 1957 when he had finished his National Service in the RAF and David Granger, who since 1955 had been working with his father, joined as a partner in 1959.

As the practice grew dedicated premises were needed. In 1960 John and David Granger bought “Linda”, 5a Poole Road, Westcliffe and the practice moved from Avon House.

James Fisher and Graham Robertson now exclusively owned 85 Castle Lane, but the two areas continued to be organised as a single practice.

The practice continues to grow

Demand increased over the years and John Surridge joined the practice in 1962. Isabel Jack joined later and after a year elected to exclusively work at Castle Lane. John then worked only at the ‘Linda’.

The Westcliffe and Castle Lane sites of the practice separated in 1967 with James Fisher, Graham Robertson and Isobel Jack working from 85 Castle Lane and John and David Granger and John Surridge at “Linda”. The latter were joined by Roger Barker, who contributed his large patient base from his practice in the Square. The four partners found it increasingly difficult to cope with the increased practice lists and so they asked Roger Gillett, another old St Thomas man, to join them.

By 1972, the old Victorian and Edwardian houses on the Westcliff had sadly nearly all been replaced by modern flats, and numbers requiring a General Practitioner swelled even more. An extra six consulting rooms were built to accommodate new partners and tenants in 1974 at the Linda.

Charles Vartan from Barts joined the team. He, having been a medical registrar with high qualifications, was one of the first of several partners who had opted out of hospital medicine in order to convert to General Practice.

In 1979, Dr Roger Gillett decided to leave the practice to take over a neighbouring one up the road. He was replaced by Dr Alan Fisher, a medical registrar from Southampton.

By 1983 the need for a lady partner was realised and the practice was lucky enough to find Elizabeth Sylvester who had been doing her vocational training in the depths of the Welsh Valleys.

Six months after this Roger Barker retired and handed over to Dr Alistair Scales who, having graduated from the London Hospital had then worked to medical registrar level in the Southampton area.

20th century

In 1987, the ever expanding practice, moved to a larger site on Milburn Road and became Westbourne Medical Centre.

Dr Stephen Morgan joined the practice in 1991 as an additional partner to help with increasing workload.

Dr John Granger retired in 1992 and was replaced by Dr Robert Schuster Bruce and a year later, in 1993, Dr David Granger retired to be replaced by Dr Tessa Bevan Jones.

Dr John Surridge retired in 1996 and was replaced by Dr Lawrence Brad.

Dr Alan Fisher retired in 2009 and replaced by Dr. Tabitha Smith and Dr. Ben Neate (with rising list and workload it was decided more doctor sessions were needed).

Dr Kenneth Gallimore joined the team in 2011 to replace Dr Ben Neate and prepare for the retirement of Dr Alistair Scales.

Dr Alistair Scales retired in 2011 and Dr Emillie Brundle was recruited to assist with the GPs workload.

Dr Charles Vartan retired in 2013 and was replaced by Dr Edwards.