The Royal Edinburgh Hospital was first established by Doctor Andrew Duncan, following the death of Robert Fergusson, a Scottish poet who died in 1774 following mental health problems caused by a head injury. Duncan wished to establish a hospital where the mentally ill could be humanely looked after. The hospital first opened in the early 19th century, following fundraising efforts by Duncan, and monies gifted by the British Parliament.
Today the hospital is the main mental health hospital for the Lothian region, and has treatment services for alcohol and drug addiction.
In 2005, NHS Lothian announced plans for a redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital site, which would see a new modern hospital built in the grounds.