Herts and Essex Hospital

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Photograph of the front of the hospital today

The Herts and Essex Hospital is a community hospital in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. The hospital provides services to local people that are provided by both the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust and Hertfordshire Community Health Services. There has been a hospital here since at least the outbreak of the Second World War, becoming a general hospital after the war. In 2003 a new building was completed establishing it as a community hospital, thus it is more formally known as Herts and Essex Community Hospital.


The site started life as a Victorian workhouse and then with the start of the Second World War it was transformed into a hospital for servicemen. This was achieved by erecting temporary prefabricated buildings (many these however were retained to the 1990s – well beyond their intended lifespan) allowing the hospital to host 900 beds.

After the start of the war and the creation of the National Health Service the hospital was designated a general hospital and it began providing numerous free services for the local population including inpatient medical and surgical wards, outpatient departments, and an emergency department, at one stage providing 1900 beds.

The financial pressures on the entire health system in the Thatcher era had serious effects on services at Herts and Essex. In November 1990 the emergency department was closed and by April 1995 all inpatient services had been transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

In light of the declining services available at the hospital and the dilapidated buildings, work began on a new hospital building in 2001 that would provide consolidated services in a much smaller hospital. Thus, in 2003 a new community hospital was opened offering 68 beds (including a mental health unit that was later closed) and a number of services listed above. The surrounding site was redeveloped into housing; some of the Victorian workhouse buildings have been retained and converted to apartments.

The hospital today[edit]

Services provided at the hospital include: inpatient clinics from Princess Alexandra Hospital, phlebotomy, a GP practice (Parsonage Practice), minor injuries unit, 36-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit consisting of two wards, Oxford and Cambridge providing physiotherapy and occupational therapy to elderly or recently disabled patients. It also serves as a base for community nursing teams.

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General references[edit]

Coordinates: 51°51′57″N 0°10′29″E / 51.86574°N 0.17484°E / 51.86574; 0.17484