Margate’s QEQM Hospital prepares to celebrate 90th birthday

QEQM opening ceremony

By Liz Crudgington

In 1930, Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in a comic strip, Scotch Tape was first marketed, and actor Sean Connery was born.

It also marked the official opening of the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, which celebrates its 90th birthday on Friday, 3 July.

Staff plan to mark the occasion with a socially distanced celebration featuring a display of the hospital’s history, as well as cakes for patients and medical teams.

Susan Acott, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals, said: “Thousands and thousands of people have been cared for at the QEQM in its nine decades.

“And thousands more staff have cared for them, working through challenges from the Second World War to the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The hospital has featured in countless family celebrations and tragedies and has a real place in the hearts of many in our community.

“While we may not be able to have the celebrations we had planned, we will still mark the occasion in a socially distanced way and give thanks for the decades of service the hospital has seen.”

Building work on the St Peter’s Road site started in 1928, with the foundation stone laid by Sir Charles Batho, the then Lord Mayor of London, and the opening ceremony was performed by Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught. Prince Arthur was the seventh of Queen Victoria’s nine children and his wife was a qualified nurse.

The new hospital had 87 beds and one operating theatre and replaced the old Margate Cottage Hospital, which opened in 1876 and is now Edith Court. It cost a total of £70,000, largely raised by the Thanet community with additional contributions from further afield.

In 1948, the hospital became part of the newly formed NHS, and was renamed Margate General Hospital. Over the years it became known as the Isle of Thanet District Hospital, Margate Wing, and then in 1986 Thanet District Hospital.

It wasn’t until 1996 that it was given its current name, when Prince Charles opened the new extension leading towards Ramsgate Road and the hospital became The Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital.

By then it had 520 beds and nine operating theatres, and had absorbed staff, patients and services from the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, which closed in the same year.

QEQM now provides a wide range of emergency and elective services and comprehensive trauma, orthopaedic, obstetrics, general surgery and paediatric services.

It has a dedicated heart centre, as well as intensive care facilities and children’s inpatient and outpatient services.

11 Comments

  1. I remember my first time having an op their I recuperated in the old ward huts excellent care.no longer there new outpatient wing now.Todays NHS is not the same.With clinicians and trusts attempting the remove vital services they should be ashamed of themselves. The NHS is not meant to be a profit making organisation.

    • I agree that the NHS is not supposed to be a profit making organisation. In fact, if a private company makes a profit out of an NHS transaction, that money has been wasted. It should have gone to improve the service , not to improve somebody’s already healthy bank balance.

      • You have it right. Such is the conservatives 2012 H&S care plan. Sonik’s doing a great job educating and campaigning but it’s an uphill struggle

    • Barry It is beholden to us to do our increment to safeguard our NHS.

      Marxist driven quasi champions of NHS have done Thanet health and NHS planning immeasurable harm. The group SONIK and Cllr Karen Constantine who embraces the politics of protest (like SONIK) to the exclusion of Law and Politics of Progress.

      Barry I feel that you are a good man but sometimes that means accepting hard truths.

      • What contribution to help to save the nhs from profiteering have you made? Apart from writing unpleasantries and falsehoods

      • No idea who this ‘Richard’ is, but he keeps lumping Cllr Constantine in with SONIK (Save Our NHS in Kent). The two are not connected at all.

        Also – he seems to be one of those that like to call all forms of campaigning for justice ‘Marxism’. It’s a thing that the alt-right and far right do a lot. Equating things that are unrelated is lazy, but also an attempt to divide people who need to come together to fight and save the services they so badly need.
        It’s amazing the amount of false accusations that surface when a campaign is popular and gets a following. You could say it’s a sign of success – SONIK is clearly getting under the skin of certain people.

  2. Susan pottle I know it was the Margate general hospital my referral to the QEQM after the name change.The hospital is excellent only if they were run by the department of health. Not these profit making trust’s.

  3. Ah – ‘Richard’ must be Richard Card. He contacted SONIK about his concerns about the pollution of water acquifers in Thanet a good while back. We politely explained that it’s not in our remit, and wished him well. He has turned very hostile since. He might get a successful campaign going if he learned how to attract people to his campaign and get a group going. He won’t ever manage it if he continues to be hostile for no reason.

    It’s pretty unreasonable to expect a group that campaigns on health service cuts to take up other political causes too. We have our hands full already. And it’s not our area of knowledge. Most people would understand and move on, but Card seems to be very bitter about it.
    It can be very hard to get people to listen. I understand that. But his approach is completely counterproductive.

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