Whipps Cross University Hospital

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Whipps Cross University Hospital
Barts Health NHS Trust
Whipps Cross Hospital old building.jpg
Whipps Cross original building
Location London, E11
United Kingdom[1]
Care system NHS
Hospital type Teaching
Affiliated university London South Bank University,
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Emergency department Yes
Beds 734 (approx)
Founded 1917
Website http://www.whippsx.nhs.uk/

Whipps Cross University Hospital is an NHS-run university hospital in Whipps Cross, Waltham Forest, London, United Kingdom which housed London's first hyperbaric unit.

The hospital has one of the largest and busiest A&E departments in the UK and serves a diverse community from Chigwell to Leyton. The chief executive of the hospital is Catherine Geedes.

Whipps Cross is part of Barts Health NHS Trust.

The closest stations are Leytonstone tube station on the London Underground's Central line and Wood Street railway station on National Rail's Chingford Branch Line. There are several buses that connect the hospital to Leytonstone station.


In 1889 the West Ham Board of Guardians purchased Forest House with 44 acres (18 ha) of grounds at Whipps Cross in Leytonstone, with the intention of building a workhouse.[2] Construction of an infirmary started in 1900 and was completed in 1903. Designed by Francis Sturdy, the former main entrance is in the style of a northern Renaissance town hall.[3] When it opened the infirmary provided 672 beds in 24 wards in four awe-inspiring symmetrical blocks with tiered covered walkways and two massive towers. The buildings cost £186,000 to construct, which was criticised as extravagant.

During World War I, the infirmary was used to treat wounded troops; a brass plaque in the main corridor has this inscription: "This tablet was erected to commemorate the visit of Their Majesties King George V & Queen Mary with H.R.H. Princess Mary, to this Infirmary and War Hospital on Saturday, November 17th 1917, when Their Majesties visited the wounded soldiers and the Queen presented the medals and certificates of training to the nurses."[4] Eastside Community Heritage began a heritage project in 2014 into the history of Whipps Cross Hospital during the First World War.

By the end of the war, the infirmary had started to become a general hospital and the name was changed to Whipps Cross Hospital. Management passed from the Board of Guardians to the County Borough of West Ham council in 1930 as a result of the Local Government Act, 1929. In 1936 the hospital had 741 acute medical and surgical beds. A major extension to the east of the old Infirmary block and that was planned and was opened in July 1940. The Hospital transferred to the new National Health Service in 1946 as part of the NE Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.[5] The 17th century Forest House was used as a ward for male mental patients; it was closed in 1962 when a new hostel, Samuel Boyce Lodge, was opened, and was finally demolished in 1964.[6]

Services and facilities[edit]

Whipps Cross provides a full range of local general hospital services and is home to one of the busiest A&E departments in the country[7] dealing with over 200 patients a day.

The hospital is divided into 6 different coloured zones - Red, Orange, Pink, Green, Purple and Yellow. The Orange zone is the oldest part of the hospital and is home to the main entrance and dental teaching facilities. The Red zone houses the A & E unit (now referred to as the EUCC) and medical admission ward, hospital shops, offices and restaurant. The various radiology facilities can be found in the Pink Zone. The Green zone contains intensive care, one dialysis unit, respiratory, renal, stroke and rehabilitation wards, the cardiology department, a research unit and the noted hyperbaric unit. The Yellow zone holds surgical wards, half the operating theatres and the outpatients department. The Purple zone is maternity - ante-natal and post natal. The wards can be found throughout the hospital, across the various coloured zonings. The hospital website hosts a comprehensive map detailing specific locations.

Whipps Cross was listed as having one of the worst rates for MRSA in 2008.[8] By 2010 Whipps Cross had the lowest rate of infections in London.[9]


As of summer 2006 the hospital is undergoing a turnaround process, designed to head off a projected £40 million deficit. The turnaround team is headed by an external consultant and is expected to take up to three years to bring the hospital back to financial viability. Around 450 jobs are expected to be lost including nurses, doctors, administrators and managers.

A redevelopment of the site planned for 2012 (costing £350m) was abandoned after the withdrawal of one potential PFI partner. The Bouygues consortium had been left as the sole bidder for the scheme after Consort, a Balfour Beatty-led consortium, pulled out of the bidding in April. This resulted in a Treasury review. Subsequent plans to redevelop the hospital in stages has also been put on hold whilst financial turnaround is in progress.[10]

The redevelopment of the A&E Department finished before the 2012 Summer Olympics on the 9 May 2012.[11]

In 2012, Kier London Ltd started a refurbishment and new build extension.[12]


The hospital has its own radio service, Whipps Cross Hospital Radio, a registered charity founded in 1969 by the Walthamstow Lions Club to provide entertainment and information to the patients and staff. The station has been broadcasting 24 hours a day since 2004. Former presenters have included Chris Serle and Annabel Port who went on to Virgin Radio. The current Station Director is Phil Hughes. Central to the programming on the station is the daily request show, hosted by a variety of presenters. During the football season there are often live commentaries from West Ham and Leyton Orient home matches as well as a general sports round-up, in addition to a weekly sports magazine programme on Sunday afternoon. Local news is well-served and a national news bulletin is provided by Independent Radio News.


The wards of the hospital are mainly named after trees.[13]

Ward Main speciality
Acacia Infectious Diseases
Acorn Paediatrics
Birch Geriatric Medicine
Blackthorn Geriatric Medicine
Cedar Geriatric Medicine
Chestnut Geriatric Medicine
Conifer Gastroenterology
Curie Respiratory Medicine
Elizabeth Cardiology
Faraday Respiratory Medicine
Margaret Centre Palliative Care
Mulberry Obstetrics
Nightingale Respiratory Medicine
Peace Stroke Medicine
Poplar General Surgery
Primrose General Surgery
Rowan Gynaecology
Sage Trauma and Orthopedics
Sycamore Trauma and Orthopedics
Syringa Geriatric Medicine
Victory Geriatric Medicine


Notable births[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°34′40″N 0°00′07″E / 51.57787°N 0.00197°E / 51.57787; 0.00197