Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust was formed in 1999, bringing together our four hospitals - Epsom, St Helier, Sutton and Queen Mary's Hospital for Children.
Epsom Hospital serves the southern part of the catchment area and provides an extensive range of inpatient, day and outpatient services. It hosts the Elective Orthopaedic Centre (EOC), providing orthopaedic services to patients of St George's, Croydon Health Services and Kingston hospitals in addition to patients from Epsom and St Helier. Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust runs acute psychiatric services from the hospital.
St Helier Hospital is the largest hospital of our hospitals, and shares the site with our dedicated children's hospital, Queen Mary's Hospital for Children. The award winning South West Thames Renal and Transplantation is also on site and supports eight renal satellite units across the region.
Sutton Hospital currently accommodates a specialist emergency unit for eye casualties and our Centre of Pain Education (COPE), where patients who suffer with chronic pain are helped to deal with their condition.
The history of our hospitals
The first hospital in Epsom was opened in 1873, and was initially known as the Cottage Hospital. The service operated from a converted house in Pembroke Cottages in Pikes Hill and contained just eight beds.
In 1877, the hospital moved to Hawthorne Place. Just two years later, in 1889, a new hospital building was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in Alexandra Road. During this time, patients were charged between five shillings and 10 shillings, six pence a week, but most of the revenue came from charity.
What is now Epsom Hospital in Dorking Road was built in 1890 under the 'Poor Law guardians'. The Poor Law was the system for the provision of social security in England and Wales until the establishment of the welfare state in the 20th century.
The hospital remained a voluntary organisation, supported by donations, until the NHS was formed in 1948. At this time, the hospital had expanded and housed 40 beds. In 1988, the Cottage Hospital was moved to new premises in the grounds of West Park Hospital. The previous site was converted into a GP surgery.
St Helier Hospital
St Helier has a rich history, starting in 1938 when Queen Mary laid the first foundation stone at the site. The first patients were admitted in 1941 and the building was completed in 1942. The cost of the rent at the time was just £1 a year.
Sadly, less than a month after completion, the hospital was damaged by a bomb dropped during an air raid in World War Two. Further damage was caused throughout the war, and the hospital was struck by two flying bombs in June 1944. However, St Helier remained open and continued to grow after the War.
In 1974, St Helier Hospital accommodated the first kidney transplant: a 24-year-old man had an operation at the hospital where he received a kidney from his sister. In 1977, the A&E department was opened for the first time following an investment of £200,000.
St Helier Hospital has also played host to royalty in the past. During the hospital's Jubilee year in 1963, the Queen Mother visited the hospital to give nursing awards to staff. In 1987, the Princess of Wales officially opened the new maternity unit.
Queen Mary's Hospital for Children
Queen Mary's Hospital for Children has been a long standing landmark in the Carshalton area and has cared for thousands of children since it first opened its doors in 1909. Back then, the hospital was known as the Children's Infirmary and was situated in Carshalton Beeches. Queen Mary became the hospital's patron in 1914 and it was renamed after her visit in 1915.
In 1959, when the hospital began providing care for children with special needs, it became the first comprehensive children's hospital in the UK. With advance in medicine and a consequent reduction in admissions, and how long children need to be in hospital, the hospital shrank in size and moved to the St Helier Hospital site in 1993.
In 1899, Sutton Cottage Hospital officially opened its doors to the public. At the time, the hospital housed just six beds, and operated from two semi-detached cottages in Bushy Road, Sutton.
As the population of Sutton grew, so too did the hospital. In 1902, the hospital moved to a new site, which consisted of four small wards, an administrative block and contained a total of 12 beds. It was at this point that the hospital became known as Sutton Hospital.
In 1930, the hospital began the expansion process again, this time with a purpose-built clinic at the current site. In 1931, the new hospital was officially opened. When the National Health Service (NHS) was implemented in 1948, the hospital was incorporated into the St Helier group. The hospital continued to receive support from voluntary activity and charitable organisations.
By 1950, further beds for inpatients were desperately needed and two further wards were added. Late in 1957, a new outpatients and pharmacy was added to the complex. By now, people were beginning to live longer and the increasing number of elderly people requiring care was putting added pressure on the hospital. A new geriatric rehabilitation unit was opened in 1959.
In 1983, a district day surgery unit was opened, meaning that patients could be treated and discharged within the same day. During 1990, the hospital underwent further improvements, and a work began on building an orthopaedic surgery. Patients first arrived for treatment here in January 1991.