'Challenge and Change in a Cinderella Service': A History of Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridgeshire, 1953 – 1995

Adams, John Stephen (2009). 'Challenge and Change in a Cinderella Service': A History of Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridgeshire, 1953 – 1995. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00005679


This study of Fulbourn Hospital uses oral history and documentary sources to explore the models of mental illness and the therapeutic practices associated with them in one provincial English psychiatric hospital during the second half of the twentieth century. The appointment in 1953 of a new Medical Superintendent from the Maudsley Hospital, Dr David Clark, set in train a process of change which transformed the hospital through the implementation of a social model of psychiatry. This period was ended by the appointment of the leading biological psychiatrist, Professor Sir Martin Roth, as the University of Cambridge’s first Professor of Psychiatry in 1976. The subsequent years saw the appointment of psychiatrists who shared support for a medical model of psychiatry. Attention then turned to the development of care in the community through the establishment of group homes and community mental health teams. The implementation of sectorisation proved to be controversial, as did the increasing role afforded to general managers. It is concluded that many of the elements of the social model introduced by Dr Clark became absorbed into the working practices of the nursing staff, after they had been abandoned by the psychiatrists working in the hospital. This study therefore illustrates the process through which professional boundaries shifted in response to changing models of practice.

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