Hospital unit dedicated to doctor who died in diving accident

A NEW hospital unit has been dedicated to the memory of a respected doctor who died in a tragic accident.

The Judy Beard Day Unit was officially opened at the Conquest Hospital by Nick Belcher, husband of Dr Judy Beard, and her daughter Holly.

The unit provides haematology and oncology services previously provided on the McCartney Day Unit, which will now have more room to continue to treat medical day cases.

Dr Beard, 52, also known as Dr Belcher, was a consultant haemotologist and lead cancer clinician, who worked at both the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH.

She was scuba diving with friends off Eastbourne on July 11 when the accident happened.

Dr Beard, who lived in Denbigh Road, Hooe was also a trustee at St Michael’s Hospice in Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards and chairman of the Hastings Sub-Aqua Club.

Her daughter Holly cut the ribbon to officially open the Judy Beard Day Unit on Saturday and posed with her father Nick and grandfather Colin Beard by a plague to commemorate the day.

Mr Belcher, Stuart Welling, the hospital trust’s chairman, and colleague Dr Simon Weston-Smith all spoke movingly about Dr Beard as a person and a doctor but most of all about her care for her patients.

The new unit also has a bay named after Andy Taylor, a young local footballer, who died in 1999.

Following his death, friends and family raised more than £18,000 to help buy a conservatory for patients on the McCartney Unit.

The naming of the bay was marked by Mick, Andy’s dad, gently kicking the same football used to mark the opening of the conservatory into the bay named after Andy.

In his weekly message to staff Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, said: “The new unit is in recognition of her (Dr Beard’s) work and dedication tohaematology and cancer patients in East Sussex. I would like to thank the staff of the unit for making it a seamless relocation and the work behind the scenes of Michele Small who ensured it happened so smoothly and efficiently.”