A HOSPITAL launched a new £200,000 block for patients nearly 40 years ago.

This photo, taken on February 1, 1979, shows three patients who couldn't believe their luck with the new facilities available at Whalley's Calderstones Hospital.

A three-storey block at the hospital had been converted into flats for 45 patients, at a cost to Lancashire Area Health Authority of £200,000.

After years as patients on busy, noisy wards at the massive Calderstones Hospital, the three women (pictured) were able to settle into comfortable flats.

For the first time in years, they were able to brew a cuppa when they wanted to, go to bed when they liked and choose what they wanted to watch on TV.

And the addresses, 20, 21 and 22, Calder Avenue meant a new lease of life for patients whose world had been limited to hospital wards.

The flats - believed to be the only ones of their kind in the country at the time - welcomed their first residents in 1979.

Staff supervision at the flats was set to a minimum in order to allow patients to enjoy the privacy and independence previously missing from their lives.

Mr Tom Mclean, divisional nursing officer, said: "These units are grouped together under the control of nursing staff."