First Aid for Hospitals

Keith Nurse raises questions about the state of Britain’s hospital buildings.

Autre temps autre moeurs, and never more so than in the treatment of patients and the buildings needed in which to treat them then and now. Most Britons are by now all too familiar with the inside of an old hospital – run-down, overcrowded, noisy – often with long walks across to badly designed new departments or, worse still, to Nissan huts, in search of treatment.

But often the heart or core of the hospital is a handsome Victorian building – or Edwardian, or sometimes even Georgian in origin.

The majority of these buildings as they are at present, are no longer suitable for modern medicine. The Department of Health and Social Services owns thousands of such hospitals – at least 600 are listed buildings and it is estimated that there are some 2,600 of 'historic merit'. Fears are growing that in their attempt to 'improve' the system, the DHSS may well demolish many buildings that are worthy of a better fate. The organisation SAVE Britain's Heritage reported recently that already several hospitals have been pulled down where it might have been better to restore them for modern medical requirements or to adapt them for a new use.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.