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Nursing staff celebrate London hospital’s 300-year history

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Nurses at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital celebrated their organisation’s 300th anniversary with a special commemorative service at Westminster Abbey this week.

The hospital held a special commemorative service on Thursday which was attended by past and current staff, patients, volunteers, supporters, MPs and other NHS dignitaries.

“Today, we celebrate our long history and ongoing pioneering approach to delivering exceptional patient care”

Lesley Watts

The service recognised the pioneers who set up Westminster Hospital in 1719, the first hospital in the world funded by charitable giving, which became Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 1993.

The service included readings by past and current staff, including Alexander Hoare – a direct descendant of Henry Hoare, who founded Westminster Hospital with a charitable donation of £10.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital, employs over 6,000 staff.

It is the second largest maternity provider in the country, the fourth largest accident and emergency, and has a world-renowned HIV/sexual health service and specialist burns and surgery programmes.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Very Reverend Dr John Hall

Source: Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership

Dr John Hall

In is address, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, dean of Westminster, said: “As we mark the three-hundred-year history of Westminster Hospital… we honour the men and women who have served over the years and those who continue to serve there in our own day.

“Visiting the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital a few months ago, it became clear to me was that the nature of the hospital’s physical structure and the care given there, conduce to an experience for patients that goes beyond immediate physical health needs,” he said.

He added: “There is no doubt that the work and ministry of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is a great force for good and a powerful example, and so highly worthy of this celebration.”

Lesley Watts, chief executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Today, we celebrate our long history and ongoing pioneering approach to delivering exceptional patient care.

“We are proud to have been at the forefront of innovation with a long list of other hospital ‘firsts’ in emergency care, brain tumour extraction, breast cancer chemotherapy, HIV diagnosis and anaesthetics, to name but a few,” she said.

She added: “As we recognise the past, we also look forward to continuing to deliver first class patient care through sector-leading innovation.”

Last week the abbey also saw nurses gather to celebrate International Nurses’ Day, in a joint service marking the birthday of Florence Nightingale and the funeral of Edith Cavell.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Westminster hospital service

Source: Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership

Service of thanksgiving to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital on 23 May 2019

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Westminster Hospital service

Source: Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership

The Westminster Hospital and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust banner, and a bowl of oranges, remembering the hospital’s first in patient, who was cured of scurvy, are processed through the abbey on 23 May 2019

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Westminster Hospital service

Source: Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership

A service of thanksgiving to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital on 23 May 2019

 

History of Chelsea and Westminster: A distinguished heritage

Mr Henry Hoare and four friends founded the original Westminster Hospital in 1719, and the hospital continued to grow and have several different locations before closing in 1992 to reopen as the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 1993, combining services from Westminster Hospital along with five other London hospitals.

The renowned Westminster Medical School was founded in 1834 by the notable surgeon George Guthrie and provided over 160 years of medical education, with its legacy preserved and perpetuated today at Imperial College School of Medicine, at Imperial College London.

The hospital has a rich history including remaining operational throughout both World Wars, including several bombing attacks during the Blitz with miraculously no fatalities. The hospital once again found itself at the forefront of caring for victims of the IRA bombings in the Capital in the 1980s. In more recent times, the now Chelsea and Westminster Hospital provided life-saving care following the 2005 terrorist attacks, the Westminster Bridge and London Bridge attacks in 2017 and treated patients following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

The hospital has received Royal support over its 300-years with Royal patrons and support dating back to a donation in 1721 by George, Prince of Wales, followed by King William and Queen Adelaide becoming patrons in 1830, along with Queen Victoria. King George VI was also a patron and opened the fifth Westminster Hospital in 1939. In more recent times, Queen Elizabeth II opened the new hospital in 1993 and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 2015 to open the new Children’s Hospital.

To celebrate and honour this remarkable history, hospital charity CW+ has installed a heritage timeline and permanent public exhibition at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, this exhibition includes artefacts from the hospital archives, oral accounts and memories from past staff and a variety of film footage and photographs documenting the hospital’s history.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

 

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