Musgrove Park Hospital is a large NHS hospital located in Taunton, Somerset. Originally a US Army General Hospital during the Second World War, it became an NHS hospital in 1949.

About the hospital
Musgrove Park is the major hospital in Somerset, which serves Taunton and its surrounding areas. It is often known by the abbreviation MPH by the local South Western Ambulance Service. It serves a population of 340,000 - primarily living in the area served by NHS South West. Each year 34,000 patients are admitted as emergencies; 10,000 patients are admitted for elective surgery; 28,000 are seen for day case surgery; 238,000 outpatient appointments are held; 49,000 attend Accident and Emergency, 3,000 babies are born in the Maternity Department and 170,000 diagnostics tests are carried out. The hospital has an annual budget of £180 million; over 700 beds as well as 15 operating theatres. Musgrove Park is also home to an Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit, a Medical Admissions Unit, a fully equipped Diagnostic Imaging department and a specialised Children’s Department including a Paediatric High Dependency Bay. The Trust also provides Neonatal Intensive Care for all of Somerset. The Trust employs about 4,145 staff. Musgrove Park has a hospital radio station called Apple AM, presented by volunteers. The station is broadcast to all patients and staff and can be listened externally on 1431 kHz medium wave. Following an operation on his foot, Somerset cricketer Ian Botham mistakenly walked into a children's ward at Musgrove Park. He gives this as his inspiration for raising millions of pounds for leukaemia charities.

The 67th General Hospital was authorised on 3 March 1941, and activated 1 September 1942 as an American Army Hospital and occupied by the U.S. Army Medical Corps. After the war, it continued in use as a Ministry of Pensions Hospital and only became a General Hospital within the National Health Service in 1951. An Oregon Pine tree was planted in front of the Old Building by the Americans and can still be seen standing proudly today. The first major development of the hospital was the Queens Building which opened in 1987. This houses Accident and Emergency, Orthopedics, Endoscopy and Opthalmics as well as Therapy Services. The Duchess Building opened in 1995 to house Medical and Care of the Elderly, Outpatients, Oral Surgery and Orthodontics, Dermatology, Diagnostic Imaging, Pharmacy, and Paramedical Support. An extension to the Post Medical Centre was opened in 2005. Work on a Cancer Centre started in 2007. Many events took place over the years that affected staff and patients in unusual ways. Two of these took place in 1978, which was eventful for many and gained considerable publicity ”“ the great snow of February 1978 and the Taunton train fire of July 1978. The helicopter became a familiar sight during the snow siege ”“ the first landed at very short notice, bringing a patient with a head injury ”“ an unusual group of staff carried him from the helicopter to the hospital through deep snowdrifts. After a few days, these flights became routine, bringing in mothers in labour and taking out supplies to smaller hospitals. Musgrove Park has had two of many memorable Royal visits. These were by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1959; and by H.R.H. Princess Anne in 1970, when she opened the Intensive Therapy Unit. In October 2006, a new multi-storey car park was opened, provided under a 25 year Public-private partnership (PPP). The Cedars car park has 736 spaces and is operated by Dutch company Q-Park. This was built together with the addition of the new Cardiac Extension to the hospital, which provides primary angioplasty. On 1 December 2007, Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust became a Foundation Trust making Musgrove a Foundation Trust hospital. As a Foundation Trust, the hospital will now have greater freedoms over its finances and the 5200 people who have registered as members will have a crucial role to play in the future direction of the hospital.

Future plans
The Trust has exciting plans to improve and transform the hospital. These include the current development of the new Cardiology Extension, as well as the replacement of part of the World War II Old Building with a state-of-the-art Surgical Centre within the next few years. The new Beacon Cancer Centre opened in May 2009, ending the need for patients to travel to the Bristol Oncology Centre for radiotherapy treatment. A new helipad is being built directly outside the A&E department reducing aircraft transfer times. Construction work, which began on the helipad in February 2010, was completed in May 2010. Construction work on the new £38 million surgical centre began in August 2010.

The A&E department of Musgrove is the subject of a TV fly-on-the-wall series known as "Emergency: Medics". Three series have previously been shown on ITV West and ITV Westcountry. Former episodes of “Emergency: Medics” can be seen on ITV1 or on the Discovery Home & Health Channel.


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