Comic Harry Hill opens Bognor Regis surgery

C110868-4 Bog May19 Harry phot kate''Harry Hill after opening the new Bersted Green Surgery in North Bersted.C110868-4
C110868-4 Bog May19 Harry phot kate''Harry Hill after opening the new Bersted Green Surgery in North Bersted.C110868-4

TV comic Harry Hill proved laughter is the best medicine when he opened a Bognor Regis health centre.

Mr Hill delighted a crowd of about 400 with a gag-filled appearance to mark the official start of Bersted Green Surgery.

The jokes kept coming during his ten minutes at the microphone in front of the surgery’s packed car park.

He told them: “I’ve donated a scanner to the surgery – which can also be used as a printer, if you can find the right ink cartridges.”

He also praised the facilities in the new £2.5m building on Durlston Drive by saying: “They’ve got a minor operations room here and the operations are three for two all next week.”

He highlighted the contrasting heights of surgery doctors Matt Bradstock-Smith and Henning Schaeper and persuaded Dr Schaeper to imitate a duck.

A rare serious moment saw him praise Dr Bradstock-Smith for backing his comedy routine when the pair were medical students.

“He used to drive me around to shows in his car and put money into my shows. If it was not for him, I would not be standing here today,” he said.

Mr Hill had earlier spent two hours looking round the surgery and meeting dignitaries and invited guests.

He followed the opening by spending about an hour signing autographs and posing for photographs with fans to leave everyone delighted by his presence.

Saturday’s ceremony marked the end of a wait for improved NHS facilities which dates back 12 years.

Dr Bradstock-Smith, one of the surgery’s partners, said: “This day has been a long time in the planning. I have been overseeing the project to get a new surgery built for more than ten years.

“The partnership started in 1947 and there have been 13 partners since then. Six of them are still working here.

“So, this is a practice with a lot of stability and we are very proud and pleased to provide medical services to the local community.

“But, as you know, the surgery had not been big enough for many years. We are absolutely delighted we have managed to get a surgery which is fit for the 21st century.”

He spoke of the struggles against the recession and suppliers and builders which failed to survive it and the resolve of the staff to work around the 18-month building schedule.

The new surgery includes 17 consulting rooms and two treatment rooms as well as the minor operations room for its six GPs and 31 members of staff to look after their more than 10,000 patients.

The facilities are spread over two floors in contrast to the near 30-year-old previous single-storey building.