Southmead Hospital

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Southmead Hospital
North Bristol NHS Trust
Southmead Hospital, Bristol- north end of Brunel building (geograph 6010500).jpg
North end of Brunel Building
Southmead Hospital is located in Bristol
Southmead Hospital
Shown in Bristol
LocationSouthmead, Bristol, England
Care systemNHS
TypeDistrict General
Affiliated university
Emergency departmentYes – Major Trauma Centre
Links Edit this at Wikidata

Southmead Hospital is a large public National Health Service hospital, situated in the Southmead ward in the northern suburbs of Bristol, England. It is part of the North Bristol NHS Trust. The 800-bed Brunel Building opened in May 2014, to provide services (including Accident and Emergency), which transferred from Frenchay Hospital in advance of its closure.[1] The hospital now covers 60 acres (24 ha).


The original workhouse building now used as a training centre
Dr Gibson-Hill examines a patient at Southmead Hospital in 1942

Early history[edit]

The hospital originated in 1902, when the Barton Regis Poor Law Union opened a new workhouse. The Barton Regis Union had been obliged to open a new workhouse when it lost its urban areas, and with them its workhouse at Eastville, to Bristol in 1897. An innovation in the new workhouse at Southmead was that in a separate building it included an infirmary, with 28 beds for the sick and provision for three nurses.[2]

By 1911, there were 520 beds. During the First World War, the Memorial Wing at Bristol Royal Infirmary together with Southmead Hospital were requisitioned by the War Office to create the 2nd Southern General Hospital, a facility for the Royal Army Medical Corps to treat military casualties.[3] The facilities reverted to a workhouse in the early 1920s and were then greatly extended to accommodate all the sick. In 1924, the Southmead Infirmary was built and was later renamed Southmead Hospital.[4] Notable former medical staff include Geoffrey Tovey, serologist and founder of the UK Transplant Service, which was formed in 1972 and was initially based at the hospital.[5]

Brunel building[edit]

In 2005, a major expansion was planned which included moving most services from Frenchay Hospital to the Southmead site, with Frenchay being downgraded to a Community Hospital. Full approval for the project was given by the NHS South West board in January 2009.[6] A new building, which was designed by the Building Design Partnership and built by Carillion at a cost of £430 million, was procured under a Private Finance Initiative contract in 2010. The scheme brought all departments and services together under one roof.[7] Called the Brunel building, after Bristol engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it would have 800 beds, 24 operating theatres, patient gardens, a public square, a helipad and visitors' multi-storey car park.[8]

The accident and emergency department at Frenchay closed on 19 May 2014 and reopened at Southmead the next day.[9]

In early 2014, the second phase of the hospital redevelopment began with the demolition of the old main building to enable construction work to begin on a Brunel Building extension,[10] together with enlarging the area in front of the hospital.[11][12] The extension includes a new multi-storey car park for patients and visitors, a cycle centre with storage for 300 bikes, more shops, changing and shower facilities for staff and a community arts space.[13]

Following the 2014 opening of the Brunel building, there was a shortage of parking spaces owing to high demands from visitors, patients, and staff.[14] In 2014 and 2015, patients and visitors parked at the nearby Beaufort Way multi-storey car park.[15] Improvements were made in 2016, including the construction of a 400-space multi-storey car park next to the Brunel building.[16]


Records relating to hospitals within the Southmead Health Authority are held at Bristol Archives (Ref. 39880).[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New hospital move". North Bristol NHS Trust. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  2. ^ Large, David (1995). Bristol and the New Poor Law (PDF). Bristol Branch of the Historical Association. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0 901388 70 X.
  3. ^ "Bristol Royal Infirmary". Historic Hospitals. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Photographic archive of Southmead". Bristol Past. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Geoffrey Tovey". The Telegraph. 20 December 2001. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  6. ^ "New hospitals for city approved". BBC. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Bristol's 'super' hospital open for business". ITV News. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Design". North Bristol NHS Trust. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Frenchay-to-Southmead hospital move for A&E cases". BBC News – Bristol. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Work starts on clearing Southmead Hospital site for next phase". North Bristol NHS Trust. 23 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Southmead Hospital Redevelopment". North Bristol NHS Trust. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  12. ^ "This is what the new car park at Southmead Hospital looks like now – six months from completion". Bristol Post. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Southmead Hospital one year on: the highs and lows". Bristol Post. 28 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Parking woes at £430m Southmead Hospital". Gazette Series. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Hospital staff stripped spaces to help patients". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014.
  16. ^ Pennock, Lewis (16 August 2016). "Will opening of Southmead car park end street parking misery?". Bristol Post. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Bristol Archives online catalogue: Record view". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 3 December 2016.

External links[edit]