The new chairman of Addenbrooke's NHS Trust attracted a record attendance at the Cambridge Business & Professional Club lunch on Wednesday.
Lady Archer's talk on trust packs them in
More than 90 people crammed into the old hall at Queens' College, and more than 20 had to be turned away.
Mary Archer, dressed in a deep scarlet suit, told the assembled members how the hospital had opened in 1766 with just 20 beds, while there were more than 1,000 today and many more needed.
She talked about Addenbrooke's becoming the largest centre for cancer research in the country; how this was a golden time for clinical research in the wake of mapping the human genome.
She talked about work on diabetes, the illness that is now reaching epidemic proportions; the relocation of Papworth to Addenbrooke's; a new development that would be totally devoted to 'elective' surgery i.e. non emergency, to prevent operations being cancelled.
She said the hospital would strangle itself unless more was done about the transport problems, but that plans were being considered to create a direct link from Junction 11 of the M11 straight into the hospital complex.
People asked about whether the hospital might ever move elsewhere. No. Whether alternative medicine was on the agenda. No, but the hospital did have a hairdressers and flower shop and chaplains, and people who came in to massage feet.
And she said there was the possibility that Addenbrooke's might become a 'foundation trust' allowing it the freedom to set its own local pay rates.
It was all very interesting, and club members hung on her every word; but questions outside the business of hospital trusts were off the agenda.
Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.