Queen Mary’s Hospital

History of Queen Mary’s Hospital

Originally a 200 bed military hospital, Queen Mary’s opened its doors to its first 25 patients in 1915. It was founded by Mary Eleanor Gwynne Holford whose vision was to provide a place for people who had lost a limb to come and be rehabilitated and be fitted with the most scientifically advanced limbs possible.

Throughout the First World War the reputation of the hospital grew so that it quickly became known as one of the world’s leading limb fitting and amputee rehabilitation centres, which provided not only treatment but also training opportunities so that patients could find employment. This made the demand for Queen Mary’s services so high that just three years after it first opened, it already had 900 beds and a waiting list of over 4,000 people.

By 1922, the hospital had started admitting limb patients other than war casualties, like rail employees and children with congenital deformities. As the range of patients the hospital was treating was expanding so rapidly, a fully equipped hospital was built on the Roehampton site, with services such as x-ray, electro-therapy and a gymnasium.

In 1925 the plastic and oral surgery unit developed by Sir Harold Gillies was transferred to Queen Mary’s and in 1945 a Tropical Diseases unit was established to treat returning POWs from the Far East.

Queen Mary’s continued to see developments right up to the opening of the new hospital, a state of the art four storey development set in the grounds of the old hospital but containing all the modern equipment needed to offer both the local population and patients from across the globe with complex health needs the latest treatment techniques. The new hospital opened to the public in February 2006 and was officially opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester on 1 November 2006.

A small museum was opened in the new hospital in 2010.

Queen Mary’s today

Today, Queen Mary’s sees over 130,000 patients a year and offers more than 60 services, which are provided by Kingston Hospital, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and South West London & St George’s Mental Health Trust.

Services include outpatient rapid diagnostic facilities, mental health community services, sexual health, neurorehabilitation, limb fitting, cancer screening and treatment, burns dressing, dermatology, families and children’s services and a Day Case Unit which offers diagnostic service for endoscopy and urology.

Perhaps the hospital’s best known set of services are its amputee rehabilitation ones which come together in the world famous Douglas Bader Unit, located on the lower ground floor of the hospital. The unit is an established international centre of excellence and a national leader in the field of research and development of rehabilitation techniques. Close working relationships between patients, staff, our construction partner Bovis Lend Lease and their architect, Devereux, has resulted in an outstanding amputee rehabilitation unit, which will enable the hospital to maintain, and live up to, its reputation as a world leader in the field.

As well as offering outpatients services, Queen Mary’s has 20 beds in the rehabilitation centre, 69 mental healthcare beds and 50 elderly and intermediate care beds.