Royal London Hospital

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The Royal London Hospital
Barts Health NHS Trust
LocationWhitechapel, London, England, United Kingdom
Care systemPublic NHS
Hospital typeTeaching
Affiliated universityBarts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Emergency departmentYes Accident & Emergency
ListsHospitals in England

The Royal London Hospital was founded in September 1740 and was originally named The London Infirmary. The name changed to The London Hospital in 1748 and then to The Royal London Hospital in 1980 when the Queen came to visit and gave it the added 'Royal'. The first patients were treated at a house in Featherstone Street, Moorfields in November 1740. In May 1741, the hospital moved to Prescot Street, and remained there until 1757 when it moved to its current location on the south side of Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.[1]

The Royal London is part of Barts Health NHS Trust. The Royal London provides district general hospital services for the City and Tower Hamlets and specialist tertiary care services for patients from across London and elsewhere. It is also the base for the HEMS helicopter ambulance service, operating out of a specially built roof area. There are 675 beds, 110 wards and 26 operating theatres at The Royal London Hospital. The new building opened in February 2012 and is the largest stand alone acute hospital building in Europe.[2]


The new Royal London Hospital building designed by architect HOK

The London Hospital Medical College, the first in England and Wales, was founded in 1785. It amalgamated in 1995 with St Bartholomews Hospital Medical College, under the aegis of Queen Mary and Westfield College, now known as Queen Mary University of London, to become St Bartholomews and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry (name changed to Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2007).

The present School of Nursing and Midwifery was formed in 1994 by the merger of the Schools from St Bartholomew's Hospital and The Royal London Hospital to become the St Bartholomew School of Nursing & Midwifery. Prior to this, the school of nursing was known as The Princess Alexandra College of Nursing and Midwifery. In 1995 the new Nursing School was incorporated into City University, London. Both Schools have a strong and respected history dating back over 120 years and have produced many nurse leaders and educators. The School has since been incorporated into the School of Health Sciences, City University.

Facade of the old Royal London Hospital building

In March 2005 planning permission was granted for a £1 billion redevelopment and expansion of The Royal London Hospital. Sited on the grounds of the existing hospital, the redevelopment will replace the hospital's previously demolished facilities, some of which date back to when the hospital moved to its existing site in 1757.[3] On completion of the project, the hospital will have London’s leading trauma and emergency care centre, one of Europe’s largest renal services and the capital’s second biggest paediatric service. Barts is also undergoing redevelopment and will become a cancer and cardiac centre of excellence.[4]

Joseph Merrick, known as the "Elephant Man", spent the last few years of life at The Royal London Hospital and his mounted skeleton is currently housed at the Medical School, but is not on public display.[5][6]

The TV series Casualty 1909, as well as past series Casualty 1906 and Casualty 1907, are set there, and follow the everyday life of the hospital throughout these years. Some of the storylines are based on actual cases drawn from the hospital records.

Royal London Museum and Archives

The Royal London has a museum which is located in the crypt of a 19th-century church. It reopened in 2002 after extensive refurbishment and is open to the public free of charge. The museum covers the history of the hospital since its foundation in 1740 and the wider history of medicine in the East End. It includes works of art, surgical instruments, medical and nursing equipment, uniforms, medals, documents and books. There is a forensic medicine section which includes original material on Jack the Ripper, Dr Crippen and the Christie murders. There are also displays on Joseph Merrick (the 'Elephant Man') and former Hospital nurse Edith Cavell.[7][8] A former Curator of the Museum was the noted surgeon Thomas Horrocks Openshaw.[9]

The Royal London's archives contain documents dating back to 1740, including complete patient records since 1883.

The museum is a member of The London Museums of Health & Medicine.

There is the model of a Church in the hospital that was built by Joseph Merrick who spent the last few years of his life at the hospital

Emergency & Trauma Centre

Barts and The London NHS Trust, now absorbed into Barts Health NHS Trust, consists of three tertiary hospitals, St. Bartholomew's, The Royal London and The London Chest Hospital, together producing some of the best clinical outcomes in the UK – evidenced by one of the best survival records in the NHS.[10] The Royal London Hospital treats over 1400 injury patients annually, more than any other centre in the UK.[11]

The Royal London Hospital is unique in its provision of emergency care with a resident Emergency Department (ED) consultant available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hospital is also home to London’s busiest A&E for children.

The Royal London Hospital is part of a city-wide initiative to transform London's emergency and trauma services. In 2010, the London Trauma System was implemented to provide Londoners with world-class trauma care.[12] The network is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world.[13] The System comprises four existing London hospitals, The Royal London Hospital (Whitechapel), King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill), St George's Hospital (Tooting) and St Mary's Hospital (Paddington), supported by a number of trauma units located in various A&E departments where patients with less serious injuries receive treatment.[14]

Clinical quality

The hospital claims "some of the best clinical results in the UK".[10] Nevertheless, five surgeons resigned in 2011, one of whom blamed shortages of beds, nurses and supplies for shortcomings in care while patients wait for necessary operations.[15] The Hospital's Medical Director issued a statement acknowledging that some aspects of orthopaedic care had fallen short of the hospital's high standards, and announced a review by the Royal College of Surgeons. It also referred to the difficulties of using outdated buildings, and looked forward to the forthcoming move to the brand new hospital building which would increase theatre capacity.[16]

See also


  1. ^ The History of The Royal London Hospital accessed 14 Apr 2008
  2. ^ "Europe's largest hospital to open". BBC News. 7 June 2011.
  3. ^ "Royal London Hospital". RMD Kwikform. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  4. ^ Ben Bradshaw, written Parliamentary answer, Hansard 3 September 2007 accessed 7 Nov 2007
  5. ^ Cahal Milmo (21 November 2002). "Scientists hope relative can help explain Elephant Man". London: The Independent. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  6. ^ Joseph Merrick's Autobiography (Joseph Carey Merrick) accessed 7 Nov 2007
  7. ^ Jones, Richard (2003). Frommer's Memorable Walks in London. John Wiley and Sons. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7645-6743-8.
  8. ^ Royal London Hospital Museum (Museums of Health and Medicine) accessed 7 Nov 2007 Template:Wayback
  9. ^ "Master surgeon, photographer, cyclist and angler". 1929-11-17. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  10. ^ a b "Improving clinical quality". Barts and The London. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  11. ^ Trauma, Barts and The London Link. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  12. ^ London's trauma system, NHS London Trauma Office. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Capital gets new trauma network". BBC News. 5 April 2010.
  14. ^ About the system, NHS London Trauma Office. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  15. ^ Davey, Ed (1 December 2011). "Barts and the London Hospital surgeons quit over 'dangerous' situation". BBC News. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  16. ^ "Statement from Dr Steve Ryan, Medical Director". Barts and The London NHS Trust. 2 December 2011. Archived from the original on 9 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.

Further reading

  • Sheila M. Collins (1995). The Royal London Hospital: A Brief History. Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum. ISBN 0-9517976-1-1.

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′05″N 0°03′33″W / 51.51812°N 0.05929°W / 51.51812; -0.05929