Care of people with spinal cord injuries across the North West began in 1944 in the grounds of Winwick Psychiatric Hospital, near Warrington, as part of the Emergency Medical Service established to help civilian and forces casualties of second world war.
In 1947 this group of patients were transferred to the Promenade Hospital in Southport, establishing one of the first generation of spinal injuries centres in the country.
The pioneering work for establishing the centre was undertaken by Mr Alan Sutcliffe-Kerr, consultant neurologist at the Regional Neurology Centre in Walton, Liverpool, assisted and encouraged by Mr James Cosbie-Ross and Mr Norman Gibbon, consultant urologists from the Liverpool Regional Urology Centre.
Dr Marek Damanski became the first consultant in charge of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in Southport, succeeded on his retirement by Dr John Silver until he left to join the staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1970.
The centre was then managed and developed by Mr Kookal Krishnan for the next 25 years. It was under his direction that the present centre was built at Southport and Formby District General Hospital in 1991.
The Centre admits people from Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria, Cheshire, parts of North Wales and the Isle of Man – a catchment of more 7 million people.
The centre is an internationally recognised for the treatment of people who need permanent mechanical ventilation following SCI, admitting people from across the UK for this highly specialised care.
Much of the early clinical work and research that established spinal injuries as a recognised specialty was undertaken in Southport. The centre has a long tradition of research into physiological changes following SCI and its social, psychological and economic implications.
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