Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Coordinates: 57°09′17″N 2°08′10″W / 57.1546°N 2.1360°W / 57.1546; -2.1360
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Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
NHS Grampian
Main entrance to the Infirmary
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is located in Aberdeen
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Shown in Aberdeen
LocationForesterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland
Coordinates57°09′17″N 2°08′10″W / 57.1546°N 2.1360°W / 57.1546; -2.1360
Care systemNHS Scotland
Affiliated universityUniversity of Aberdeen
Robert Gordon University
Emergency departmentYes – Major Trauma Centre
ListsHospitals in Scotland

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the largest hospital in the Grampian area, located on the Foresterhill site in Aberdeen, Scotland.[1] ARI is a teaching hospital with around 900 inpatient beds, offering tertiary care for a population of over 600,000 across the north of Scotland. It offers all medical specialities with the exception of heart and liver transplants. It is managed by NHS Grampian.


The hospital has it origins in a facility established at Woolmanhill in 1739.[2] The move to the current site formed part of the Aberdeen Joint Hospitals Scheme as envisaged by Professor Matthew Hay, which involved the development of an integrated medical campus at Foresterhill. The granite buildings on the site were designed by James Brown Nicol.[3] The hospital was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of York on 23 September 1936 – King Edward VIII had been due to open the infirmary but he called off his visit and instead went to Ballater railway station to meet Wallis Simpson off her train.[4][5] The first patients were admitted a month later and the hospital joined the National Health Service in 1948.[4][2]

In 1984, a hyperbaric oxygen unit was built for the treatment of decompression illness[4] and the hospital's in vitro fertilisation unit achieved a number of successful pregnancies in 1985, its first year of operation.[4][6]

In 1986, a new £550,000 out-patient eye clinic opened, offering corrective laser eye surgery,[4] and in 1989, the hospital introduced a breast cancer screening service for women over the age of 50, with X-rays taken every three years.[4]

In the 1980s John Mallard led a team which built the first whole body MRI scanner.[7] The world's first whole-body MRI scanner was used for diagnostic imaging between 1980 and 1983. The prototype machine, Mark One was put on display in the hospital's art gallery, the Suttie Arts Space, in February 2016.[8] Following fundraising by Evening Express readers, in 1992 a Siemens scanner, costing £870,000 was brought.[4]

In 2013, a £110m emergency care centre development was completed.[9] This was the first time that the Foresterhill campus had hosted emergency and urgent care facilities in the same building, and 75% of the beds in the centre are single-occupancy.[10]

In February 2014, it was revealed that the hospital has a repairs backlog of £60 million.[11] On 26 June 2014, Finance Secretary John Swinney announced a £120 million investment for a new cancer centre and maternity hospital on the site.[12]

In 2016, it became one of four major trauma centres as part of a national major trauma network in Scotland.[13]


There are social workers that can be contacted in the hospital,[14] and a citizens advice office.[15] The hospital is served by the volunteer-run radio station, Grampian Hospital Radio.[16]

Granite medical wards


The complex is served by several bus services with regular connections to the city centre and service to places as far as Inverurie and Oldmeldrum in the north, Inverness in the West and Cove Bay in the south.[17]

A new multistorey carpark with space for over 1,000 cars was opened in 2017.[18]


There are close links with the University of Aberdeen's medical school and there has been pioneering research in many fields, including the development of MRI and PET scanning.[19] A new PET scanner was installed in 2006.[20]

It has been one of the centres evaluating telemedicine equipment and developing services in Scotland.[21]


The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland produced a report entitled “Learning from serious failings in care” in July 2015. The investigation was launched after scandals in the health service in 2013 and 2014 leading to concerns about patient safety and care at the infirmary.[22] They found leadership and accountability were often lacking and bullying was endemic. The 20 recommendations for improvements in the NHS included a set of minimum safe staffing levels for consultants, doctors, nurses and other staff in hospital settings. They criticised a target driven culture, saying: "Quality care must become the primary influence on patient experience... and the primary indicator of performance."[23]


  1. ^ "Aberdeen Royal Infirmary: About Us". NHS Grampian. 3 June 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen". National Archives. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Architect Biography Report: James Brown Nicol". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to hit new heights as it marks its 80th year". Evening Express. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  5. ^ Channon, Henry (2021). Heffer, Simon (ed.). Henry 'Chips' Channon: the diaries, 1918-38. Hutchinson. entry for Wednesday 11th November 1936. ISBN 9781786331816. ... the King chucking the arrangements to open an infirmary at Aberdeen and then openly appearing on the Ballater railway platform on the same day to welcome Wallis to the Highlands is a tragedy.
  6. ^ "About us". Aberdeen Fertility. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Celebrated scientist donates medal collection". University of Aberdeen. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  8. ^ "First MRI goes on display in Aberdeen hospital art gallery". STV. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Queen opens £110m emergency care centre at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary". BBC News. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Aberdeen Royal Infirmary set to open new emergency unit". The Scotsman. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Revealed: Renovating Scotland's crumbling hospitals will cost £860m". Daily Record. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Major Aberdeen health investment welcomed". SNP. SNP. Archived from the original on 15 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Scotland trauma centres network 'to boost emergency care'". BBC News. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Hospitals: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary: General Information". NHS Grampian. 16 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Find a CAB: Aberdeen CAB - Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Outreach". Citizens Advice Scotland. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  16. ^ "About". Grampian Hospital Radio. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Plan your journey". NHS Grampian. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  18. ^ "New £10m hospital car park opening". 25 October 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Recognition for medical physicist". University of Aberdeen. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Hi-tech scanner for Aberdeen hospital". Scottish Government. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Face to face with the future of remote medical consultations". The Guardian. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  22. ^ "NHS accused of 'systemic failings'". Edinburgh News. 10 July 2015. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Report warns patients put at risk by failings in NHS". Herald Scotland. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.