The Lady Willingdon Hospital was started in 1935 as a one room dispensary by the then Vicerene, Lady Willingdon. She had travelled to Manali and found no facilities here for the medical care of its inhabitants. She responded to the request of local people for a dispensary by arranging money for this purpose. The local people made a one room dispensary. On the 20th of November, 1935, this hospital was inaugurated by her.
For the past seventy five years, this hospital has provided solace and healing for the inhabitants of this region. It is currently the only viable health facility providing specialised services to the people of this valley.
Landmark events in LWH
- 1935 Inauguration by the then Vicerene, Lady Willingdon
- 1936 onwards, run by the Canadian Diocese of Amritsar. Records are scarce. Very sick patients were referred to Delhi.
- 1937-1938 Dr. Toon,
- 1938-1942 Dr. & Mrs. Zeigler
- 1943 Dr. Roy and Milne
- 1944 Drs. Davis and Grange
- 1945-1953 Dr. Burfoot and his wife Alice are still remembered and talked about in the villages.
- 1953-1960 Mr. and Mrs. Mazzoni, Swiss missionaries deputed by Central Asia Mission.
- 1961 Ultimatum given by the Government threatening take over if not staffed adequately. Dr. Ram Singh from CMC Ludhiana responds to the challenge and the hospital consequently is retained with the church.
- 1961-1968 Dr. Peter and Margaret Snell arrive. Dr. Snell was working in physiology in CMC Ludhiana, went for clinical training to the UK and returned to Manali. Sister Joan Coley and Sister Valerie Luff ably assist them. Patient load rises to 17,000 outpatients a year and 150 inpatients. Emergency caesarian sections being performed.
- 1967-1972 Dr. Claire Joseph (nee Simons)
- 1975-1977 Dr. Claire Josesph (nee Simons)
- 1972-1978 Dr. Michael Robson
- 1978 No doctor on the premises, run by Alma Burfoot and Diane Cockshott
- 1979 to 2004 Drs. Laji (George) and Sheila Varghese arrive and take over the hospital. This period marks the time of greatest transformation of the hospital with many developments, and consistent medical and surgical care. Dr. Laji has a gifting in surgery and Dr. Sheila ably handled obstetrics and pediatrics. In this time, many buildings were constructed and facilities expanded. Their story can be accessed on a short video published on u tube
- 2004 till present Drs. Philip and Anna Alexander arrive to take over from Drs. Laji and Sheila. This marks the march of the history of work in and through the hospital, a story still being written.