Stoke Mandeville Hospital

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Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Stoke Mandeville Hospital New PFI Building - - 262468.jpg
Main entrance
Stoke Mandeville Hospital is located in Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Shown in Buckinghamshire
LocationAylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
Care systemNHS England
Emergency departmentYes

Stoke Mandeville Hospital is a large National Health Service (NHS) hospital located on the parish borders of Aylesbury and Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, England. It is managed by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

It was established in 1830 as a cholera hospital intentionally on the parish border between the neighbouring village of Stoke Mandeville and the town of Aylesbury to serve the residents of both settlements.[1]

The hospital's National Spinal Injuries Centre is one of the largest specialist spinal units in the world, and the pioneering rehabilitation work carried out there by Sir Ludwig Guttmann led to the development of the Paralympic Games. Mandeville, one of the official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, was named in honour of the hospital's contribution to Paralympic sports.[2]


Foundation and growth[edit]

In the early 1830s the village of Stoke Mandeville was badly affected by cholera epidemics that swept across England. A cholera hospital was established on the parish border between Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury.[1]

In September 1943 the government asked German-expatriate spinal injuries specialist Ludwig Guttmann to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.[3] The centre opened on 1 February 1944, and Guttmann was appointed its director (a position he held until 1946). As director of the UK's first specialist unit for treating spinal injuries, he believed that sport was a major method of therapy for injured military personnel helping them build up physical strength and self-respect. Guttmann became a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom in 1945.[4] Guttmann organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled personnel on 28 July 1948, the same day as the start of the London 1948 Summer Olympics.[5]

The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch World War II veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These Stoke Mandeville Games have been described as the precursors of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympics were subsequently officialised as a quadrennial event tied to the Olympic Games, and the first Paralympic Games, no longer open solely to war veterans, were held in Rome in 1960.[5]

Recent history[edit]

After the hospital joined the National Health Service in 1948, it sought to establish the Stoke Mandeville Stadium which was opened by the Queen in 1969.[6]

The hospital was visited by Diana, Princess of Wales who opened the new International Spinal Injuries Centre when it was refurbished in August 1983.[7]

A redevelopment scheme over much of the site was procured under a Private Finance Initiative contract in 2004. The construction work was carried out by Alfred McAlpine at a cost of £47 million and completed in 2006.[8] Sodexo was contracted to carry out the facilities management services on the site.[8] A new maternity unit was opened in 2009.[9]

Historic sexual abuse at the hospital[edit]

The joint Metropolitan Police Service and National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children report of the investigations into sexual abuse committed by disc jockey Jimmy Savile found that Savile, who was a valued fundraiser for the institution, committed offences there between 1965 and 1988. Twenty-two offences there between those dates have been formally recorded as crimes by the police.[10] A former child patient at the hospital has said that nurses warned her to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep when Savile was due to visit.[11]

Michael Salmon, consultant paediatrician at Stoke Mandeville hospital, was convicted and jailed for three years in 1990 for indecent assaults on teenaged girl patients, two thirteen-year-olds and one sixteen-year-old girl.[12] In the aftermath of the Savile scandal, Salmon was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree on 17 December 2013. He was subsequently convicted of nine indecent assaults and two rapes, with victims' ages ranging from eleven to eighteen and having occurred between 1973 and 1988 and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Despite working at the hospital at the same time as Savile, there is no known link between the two.[13] Salmon was also convicted of 14 charges in December 2016 and received an additional sentence of four years in prison.[14]

Independent investigator Androulla Johnstone published a report on Savile's activities at the hospital on 26 February 2015. The report found that he had sexually abused more than 50 people there, including staff, patients and visitors; one was an eight-year-old child. Savile had full access to all parts of the hospital. The report stated that it was widely known at the hospital that Savile was a "sex pest", and that 10 complaints had been made at the time, but no action was taken.[15] The report also found that three doctors, including Salmon, had been convicted of sex crimes against their patients in the preceding four decades.[16]


On 27 February 2013, Buckinghamshire disability charity BuDS announced that it was compiling a dossier of evidence about risks to patient safety at Stoke Mandeville hospital to send to the Care Quality Commission. The charity claimed that it had received "alarming reports from various sources ... expressing serious concerns about patient safety at the hospital".[17][18]

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust responded by saying "it was 'somewhat irresponsible of BuDS to potentially worry patients by hinting at patient safety issues at the hospital". The charity, however, defended its action and said "BuDS wanted to give staff, patients and visitors at Stoke Mandeville hospital a wholly anonymous way to report any concerns they might have".[19]

On 20 April 2013 the CQC published a report after an unannounced inspection at the hospital. It found that the hospital did not meet the standards for staffing levels and for providing support to staff. Enforcement action was taken regarding supporting staff and a warning notice was served.[20]


The facilities at the hospital include:[21]

Ward Number/Name Speciality
1 Trauma and Orthopaedic
2 Trauma and Orthopaedic
3 Paediatrics
4 Respiratory & General Medicine
5 Haematology & General Medicine
6 Endocrinology & General Medicine
7 Respiratory & General Medicine
8 Medicine for older people
9 Therapy & Nurse Lead Unit (TNLU)
10 Short stay ward
11 Burns and Plastic Surgery
15 Surgical admissions unit
16 A General Surgery, Plastic Surgery
16 B General Surgery, Plastic Surgery
17 Gastroenterology & General Medicine
AMU Acute Medical Unit
EOU Emergency Observation Unit
St Joseph’s Medical Day Unit, Discharge lounge, overflow
Eye ward Ophthalmology and overflow

Transport links[edit]

The hospital is served by the London to Aylesbury Line and the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line from Aylesbury railway station. There are bus services connecting the hospital with Aylesbury and High Wycombe run by Arriva and also with Leighton Buzzard.[22]

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio[edit]

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Broadcast areaStoke Mandeville Hospital
  • FM (FM): 87.7 MHz[23]
  • Online streaming
  • Dedicated app


First air date
4 December 1978[25]

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio (SMHR) is a non-profit hospital radio station which was founded on 4 December 1978. It is located within the hospital complex and provides a 24-hour radio service to the patients and staff streaming its service online, on 87.7MHz (FM) and through the use of their mobile device app, SMHR which was released in 2015.[25][26][27][23]

The very first broadcast was on 4 December 1978 at 7:30pm.[28] The first sentence was: 'Good evening and welcome to Stoke Mandeville Hospital's very own radio station'."[29]

In 1997, it was one of two hospital radio stations in the UK (the other being Radio Tyneside) to be awarded a temporary AM broadcasting licence from the Radio Authority (became Ofcom in 2003) as part of a pioneering trial as per the then recent passed Broadcasting Act. The success of the experiment led to the station, along with Tyneside Radio and many others, gaining a permanent broadcasting licence.[25][30][23]

In 2018, former mayor of Aylesbury and long-standing patron and co-founder of the station, Freda Roberts MBE JP[31][32] stood down as patron, being replaced by Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce. Ken said "Hospital Radio continues to thrive and I am delighted to take on the role of patron."[33][34]

The station is a volunteer-run not-for-profit charity and has live request shows every weekday from 8pm till 10pm.[35]

On 24 May 2019, SMHR was granted an FM broadcasting licence at 87.7 MHz by the industry regulator Ofcom. The move was linked to Local Radio day, in which the station celebrated with a six hour live broadcast from the Royal Voluntary Services Café in the Hospital.[23]

Notable patients[edit]

British entertainer and actor Nicholas Parsons, best known for hosting Just a Minute and Sale of the Century died there on 28 January 2020.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Vale of Aylesbury Plan: Stoke Mandeville Fact Pack" (PDF). Aylesbury Vale District Council. p. 8. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  2. ^ "London 2012 unveils Games mascots Wenlock & Mandeville". BBC News. 19 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  4. ^ Edited by Vanlandewijck, Yves C. Thompson, Walter R.(2011) The Paralympic Athlete: Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science (An IOC Medical Commission publication). Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 1: Background to the Paralytic movement. ISBN 978-1-4443-3404-3. Google Book Search. Retrieved on 25 August 2012
  5. ^ a b Randi Druzin (5 September 2008). "Paralympics traces roots to Second World War". CBC Sports. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Medal commemorating the Opening of the Stoke Mandeville Sports Stadium, 1969". Royal Collection Trust. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Slideshow: Memories of Princess Diana come flooding back to the Vale". Bucks Herald. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "HICL announces additional investments in 4 existing projects". InfraRed. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Staff gearing up for changes to maternity services at Stoke Mandeville Hospital", Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, 15 October 2009
  10. ^ "Giving Victims a Voice" (PDF). Crown Prosecution Service. p. 36. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Nurses used to 'dread' Savile hospital visits". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Jimmy Savile inquiry looking at alleged sexual abuse by three doctors". The Guardian. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Doctor, 80, guilty of sex attacks on young girls at Jimmy Savile hospital". Express. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Stoke Mandeville abuse: Ex-doctor Michael Salmon jailed". BBC. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  15. ^ Titheradge, Noel (26 February 2015). "Savile abuse: Stoke Mandeville staff 'were told'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  16. ^ Gallagher, Paul (27 February 2015). "Jimmy Savile: Schemes allowing volunteers to work in NHS' could lead to more abuse cases". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS)". Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Charity: Stoke Mandeville hospital staff concerned over safety". Bucks Free Press. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Disability charity slams Bucks Healthcare Trust's criticism of anonymous report". Bucks Herald. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  20. ^ "Inspection Report 20 April 2013". Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Stoke Mandeville Hospital". Bucks Healthcare. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Aylesbury to Stoke Mandeville Hospital". Arriva. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d "Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio switches from AM to FM". RadioToday. 22 May 2019. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Long term RSLs | Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio". Ofcom. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  25. ^ a b c "Station History". Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio". Android Apps on Google Play. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio". Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  28. ^ On Air (PDF) (Winter 2009 ed.). Hospital Broadcasting Association. 2009. p. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Stoke Mandeville Hospital radio still on air after 30 years". Bucks Herald. 10 December 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  30. ^ Meg Carter (2003). Independent Radio: the First 30 Years Paperback (PDF) (1st ed.). Radio Authority (Ofcom). p. 10. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  31. ^ "President - Freda Roberts MBE JP". Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  32. ^ "HONORARY FREEWOMAN OF THE PARISH OF AYLESBURY". Aylesbury Town Council. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  33. ^ Martin, Roy (24 September 2018). "Ken Bruce supports Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio". Radio Today. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  34. ^ "We are excited to announce that from today Ken Bruce is to become patron of Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio". Twitter. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  35. ^ O’Halloran, Kerry (24 April 2008). "Music hour by hour". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  36. ^ "BBC radio host Nicholas Parsons dies". BBC News. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.

External links[edit]