In this chapter
Queen Mary’s into the 1990s
Sadly the last of the cedar trees was lost in the hurricane of 1987, when it fell through the roof of the Physiotherapy Department. The lawn and rose garden still exist, although the lawn now has a secondary use as a helicopter landing area.
In the late 1980s the Hospital’s academic connection with the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School was emphasised by changing the name to Queen Mary’s University Hospital.
Since 1990 there have been considerable changes in the NHS. On 1st April 1993 Queen Mary’s became part of Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton NHS Healthcare Trust, an integrated trust which provides acute, mental health and community services; it includes Putney, Barnes, Normansfield and Richmond Royal Hospitals. The District Health Authority of Richmond, Twickenham and Roehampton merged with Kingston and Esher to become Kingston and Richmond Health Authority and moved from Roehampton House to offices in Surbiton.
The physiotherapists in the Rehabilitation Centre still regularly take patients on outings to practice using their new limbs in public places; in 1995 they went on the Eurostar rail link from London to Paris.
The Hospital has continued to thrive in the 1990s and as well as providing a full range of district general hospital specialties, it has internationally recognised Departments of Burns, Plastic Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery and, of course, Rehabilitation. The Rehabilitation Directorate has established close links with the University of Surrey’s Biomedical Engineering Group, and in 1996 set up a new Walking School in the Bader Centre, where a gait laboratory will be constructed; this will include a walkway to allow patients’ treatment needs to be assessed. In addition there are several other areas of research under consideration and work has already begun between the Biomedical Engineering Group and the Hospital’s Maxillofacial Surgery and Technology Units on the design and manufacture of facial cosmeses to help reconstruct patients’ faces after accident, cancer or birth defect.
A CT (Computed Tomography) Service was officially opened by Dr Brian Mawhinney, Minister of Health, on 16th May 1994. This has proved to be an invaluable diagnostic tool for patients and clinicians.
On 20th March 1996 the Stephen Kirby Skin Bank was opened by Simon Weston, a Falklands War veteran who was severely burnt during the bombing of his ship, the Sir Galahad. The skin bank will screen, treat and store skin to provide help in treating severe burns. Stephen Kirby was flown to Queen Mary’s after being burnt in a camping accident in France in 1994; friends and relatives donated skin to help him, but he died of complications. His widow Kim was responsible for launching the appeal and organising the fundraising.
The Hand Management Unit started treating patients in November 1995, but it was officially opened on 10th May 1996 by Paul Daniels, the magician and television celebrity.
A major rebuilding programme for the Hospital has begun; the first phase will be to replace the Out-Patient Department with a Rapid Diagnostic Centre which will provide integrated diagnostic and consultation services in one modern building.