Royal United Hospital

The Royal United Hospital (RUH) is a major acute hospital, located in the Weston suburb of Bath, England, about 1½ miles west of the Bath city centre.

The hospital has 687 beds and occupies a 52 acres (21 ha) site. It is the area's major accident and emergency hospital, with a helicopter landing point on the adjacent Lansdown Cricket Club pitch.

History

The Royal United Hospital takes its name from the union of the Bath Casualty Hospital founded in 1788 and the Bath City Dispensary and Infirmary founded in 1792. The Casualty Hospital was founded in response to the serious injuries sustained to labourers working on the buildings which were being constructed in the city.

The Dispensary and Infirmary developed from the Bath Pauper Scheme, a charity founded in 1747 to provide medical treatment for destitute persons in Bath.

The combined institution opened as the Bath United Hospital in 1826 in Beau Street in a building designed by John Pinch the elder. It was awarded the title Royal by Queen Victoria in 1864 when a new wing, named the Albert Wing after the recently deceased Prince Consort, opened. This building is now occupied by Bath Technical College.

Combe Park site

The hospital moved to its present site, Combe Park, on 11 December 1932. The site had previously been used for the large First World War Bath War Hospital from 1916 to 1922, when it was renamed the Bath Ministry of Pensions Hospital until it closed in 1929. The site was also used by the Forbes Fraser Hospital and the Bath and Wessex Orthopaedic Hospital, both founded in 1924 and merged into the RUH about 1980.

In 1959 it absorbed the Ear Nose and Throat Hospital and in 1973 the Bath Eye Infirmary, both located elsewhere in Bath.

NHS trust

The hospital became a NHS hospital trust in 1992, the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust. The trust has run a deficit most years since then, with very large deficits from 2002 to 2006, creating an historic debt of £38 million by 2008. It also received a critical Commission for Health Improvement report and zero-star rating in 2002 after a determination of 'deliberate manipulation' of waiting lists. After changes in management, standards and finances have since improved and progress has been made since 2006 on a plan to repay historic debt by 2013.

In February 2008 a conservative peer — Lord Mancroft — made a scathing attack on nursing staff at the hospital, claiming that many nurses who looked after him were "promiscuous, lazy and grubby".

The RUH is currently applying to become authorised as an NHS Foundation Trust from April 2012 and is recruiting Foundation Trust members.