About us

Our History

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.

Our Timeline

1935

 Inauguration by the then Vicerene, Lady Willingdon

1936

 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

1979-2004

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 here.

2004

 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.

2019

In 2019 we were joined by Dr. Pradeep Zechariah, and Dr. Josy Thomas. Both are surgeons trained from CMC Vellore. Dr Amy Thomas, wife of Dr. Josy also trained from CMC Vellore  joined us as full time radiologist. Dr. Athipro, an anesthetist from AIIMS Delhi also joined the team. Hence now we have a well-knit team providing care in our hospital today.

2019-

A story still being written

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