7 Best Hospitals in Edinburgh

hospitals in Edinburgh
Image by sasint, Pixabay, copyright year 2016

Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage site(1995), popularly called the Athens of the North, is the capital city of Scotland lying on the east coast.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind on hearing Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh Castle, the heavy industries, or the dreamy scenic fairytale beauty of this place divided between the New Town and the Old Town. Edinburgh has gone through a lot of changes and development over centuries and is currently an absolute delight on the face of Earth.

Edinburgh is also one of the places in the United Kingdom that provides efficient healthcare.

The National Health Service in Scotland is popularly the most efficient in comparison to its neighbours covering appointments with general practitioners and specialists, intensive care received in hospitals and clinics, emergency services, drugs, eye tests and dental examinations.

Here is the list of the 7 best hospitals in Edinburgh:

1. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh or the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

hospitals in edinburgh
Image captured from the official site of The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Location: 51 Little France Crescent Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Affiliated University: University of Edinburgh Medical School.

Visiting Hours- Open 24/7, every day of the week.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was opened in 1729 and is successfully running to this day as one of the excellent teaching hospitals in Edinburgh.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE), popularly known as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI), is the first and the oldest voluntary hospital in Scotland. The new buildings added to this infrastructure in 1879 were recorded to be the largest voluntary hospital campus in the United Kingdom.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh shifted to a new 900-bed site in the year 2003 located in Little France and became the location of the clinical medicine teaching hospital for the University of Edinburgh Medical School.

In the year 1960, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh created history by conducting the very first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom.

The world’s first coronary care unit was efficiently established at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the year 1964.

In the year 2012, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s Emergency Department created a history of 113,000 patient attendances, the highest number to be recorded in Scotland.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was granted a Royal Charter from King George II in the year 1736, which thereby gave it the famous name of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

William Adam was commissioned to design a new hospital infrastructure on a given site in the vicinity of the original building of the infirmary, which eventually gathered fame as the Infirmary Street.

In the year 1741, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh moved the small distance to the incomplete building, which was eventually on its way to completion in the year 1745 and consisted of 228 beds compared to the humble 4 beds in the Little House.

With time, in the 1830s, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh started lacking space.

To provide a solution to this problem, in the year 1832, the former Royal High School located in the vicinity of the High School Yards, constructed by Alexander Laing in 1777, was transformed into a surgical hospital consisting of a new operating theatre located to the east.

Sadly, this arrangement was soon evaluated to be insufficient, leading to the construction of a new surgical hospital, designed by David Bryce, on the front side of Drummond Street. This infrastructure was inaugurated in the year 1853.

A new extension was added to the north from the new building linked to the High School Yards building.

1.1. Services

The Royal Infirmary provides a range of professional medical and surgical services, are accident and emergency, acute medicine, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, gastroenterology, general surgery, laboratories, maternity, gynecology, and neonatal units, medicine of the elderly, orthopedic surgery, renal (kidney) medicine and dialysis, respiratory medicine, sleep medicine, stroke medicine, transplant surgery (kidney and liver transplant) and vascular surgery.

1.2. Achievements

In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the United Kingdom was performed by Sir Michael Woodruff in this hospital.

In 1964, the World’s first Coronary Care Unit was established by Desmond Julian.

In 2000, Scotland’s first combined kidney and pancreas transplant was performed here.

In 2008, Scotland’s first live donor liver transplant was performed by Murat Akyol and Ernest Hidalgo.

In 2011, Scotland’s first pancreatic islet cell transplantation was performed here.

In 2012, Scotland’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement was performed by Neal Uren.

1.3. Famous patients

The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown had eye surgery performed in this hospital in order to operate on his right eye after encountering a retinal detachment post a rugby union accident.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson delivered her baby boy, named Finn, on 26 October 2018.

2. Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Young People

young and sick
Image captured from the official site of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People

Location50 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh bio Quarter, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ.

Affiliated University: University of Edinburgh Medical School.

Visiting Hours- Open 24/7, every day of the week.

In the year 2005, NHS Lothian decided to move the ailing children to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh located at Little France, lying on the south-east edge of Edinburgh, and evaluated a plan.

In January 2012, a business case for the project of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children And Young People was approved by the Scottish Government under the Scottish government’s non-profit distributing model dated 2015.

2.1. Services

The Emergency Department is open 24 hours, all around a year, and provides high-quality emergency care for babies, children, and teenagers aged 0-15.

Services available are telephone advice, treatment of minor illnesses, and second opinions on pre-existing conditions in the patients.

For urgent care that is not fatal, all patients can call NHS 24 by phoning 111, day or night. NHS 24 is available for patients 24/7 and helps families find the excellent treatment they require at a convenient location.

2.2. Coming to the Emergency Department

The Children’s Emergency Department at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children And Young People has a well-planned entrance with red ‘Accident & Emergency’ signs if the patients are coming by car or taxi.

There is a service for short-stay drop-off points and turning circles, with longer-stay free visitor car parking available around the campus.

Children with more severe or urgent conditions are prioritized and will be seen sooner than some of those patients who arrived earlier.

There are provisions for toys, games, and television sets to help distract the ailing children and physically sick young people during waiting times.

3. St. John’s Hospital

Image captured from the official site of the St. John’s Hospital

Location– Howden Road West Howden, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6PP.

Affiliated University: University of Edinburgh Medical School.

Visiting Hours– Open 24/7, every day of the week(emergency ward).

St. John’s Hospital is a modernized and excellent teaching and general hospital located in Scotland that provides an all-inclusive and broad range of services for the people of Lothian and all over Scotland.

The St. John’s Hospital was commissioned in place of the Bangor General Hospital, located in the vicinity of Dechmont, lying to the north of Livingston.

The Livingston Development Corporation, which took responsibility for the development of the new town of Livingston in the year 1962, had planned and evaluated to move the general hospital to Livingston from around the year 1974.

The new St. John’s Hospital was officially opened by The Queen in the year 1989.

The hospital, based in Livingston, provides its patients with a 24-hour Accident and Emergency department and a wide range of speciality services, including treatment for burns and plastic surgery.

There is an efficient pediatric service at this hospital in Edinburgh, including an acute receiving unit, a pediatric ward, a special baby unit, and an excellent range of outpatient services. 

St John’s Hospital also houses the Short Stay Elective Surgical Centre, inaugurated in January 2011, which provides treatment to around 3,000 patients a year from across Scotland for day surgery.

The patients at St John’s Hospital are treated under the excellent guidance of professors from the University of Edinburgh Medical School.

This hospital in Edinburgh also houses Lothian’s specialist head and neck unit, the Hooper Hand Unit and has an unwavering reputation for excellence in maternity services, delivering around 3,000 babies at the hospital every year.

In 2014, the labor suite, along with the special care baby unit, was renovated and upgraded.​

3.1. Hospital Radio

Radio Grapevine is the St. John’s Hospital radio station broadcasting to the main buildings of the hospital since 1991 as a recognized Scottish registered charity.

Patients, family staff, and friends listen to this award-winning station dedicated to the purpose of patient entertainment online through the Radio Grapevine website. This was the first Scottish hospital radio service to be broadcasted online.

Patients are provided with the service to request a program seven nights per week through their bedside units, rooms, or online.

3.2. Howden Health Centre

Howden Health Centre, present within the hospital grounds, is a community health centre providing a range of affordable health services for the local population of Scotland.

3.4. Transport

The St. John’s Hospital is well linked by public transport in the Livingston area, with the comfortable service of various buses calling there at some point in their route.

This hospital is located at a distance of 1.5 miles from the Livingston North train station, which provides transport links to Bathgate, Airdrie, Edinburgh, and Glasgow through the recently reopened Airdrie-Bathgate line.

This hospital houses a large car parking facility which had the parking charges abolished on 31 December 2008.

3.5. Services

St John’s Hospital provides patients with a wide range of services, including accident and emergency, burns, cardiology, dermatology, ear, nose, and throat services, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery, gynecology, hematology, laboratories, maxillofacial surgery, medicine of the elderly, mental health – managed by West Lothian CHCP, nephrology, neurology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pediatrics, plastic surgery, renal dialysis, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, stroke medicine, and surgical pediatrics.

The radiology department consists of a trust-wide PACS system paired with 2 digital screening rooms, spiral CT, four splendid ultrasound machines, and an advanced gamma camera

4. Western General Hospital

western hospital
Image captured from the official site of the Western General Hospital

Location- Crewe Road South, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU.

Affiliated University: University of Edinburgh Medical School.

Visiting Hours- Open 24/7, every day of the week.

The Western General Hospital provides its patients from Scotland and Lothian with an all-inclusive range of general and specialty services.

In 1915, during the First World War, the main building of this hospital was requisitioned by the War Office to be transformed into the 2nd Scottish General Hospital to provide a healthcare facility for the Royal Army Medical Corps to treat military casualties.

The Western General Hospital became fully functional and operative in 1927. A nurses’ home was added to the infrastructure in 1935, followed by a pathology block in 1939. It became a part of the National Health Service in 1948, with a new library in 1979.

Scotland’s first Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre was inaugurated on the campus of the Western General Hospital in 1996.

The hospital has approximately 570 beds (including day beds) and houses the regional centres for the treatments of cancer, clinical neuroscience, the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit, and the award-winning Minor Injuries Clinic led by a team of efficient nurses.

The hospital staff provide treatment to more than 20,000 patients a year for a broad range of minor injuries and physical ailments. The clinic is open every day and patients are required to call 111 to make an appointment with an MIU expert for their treatment or diagnosis.

The buildings housing the units in the hospital include:

  • Peter Womersley opened the Nuffield Transplant Unit in 1955 – It was built with modernist architecture and a beautiful pedestrian bridge looking over the south access road.

  • A broad range of functional buildings used since the 1950s (including the efficient surgical theatres) by Basil Spence.

  • The Nurses Home by the City Architect, Ebenezer MacRae, 1935.

  • The excellent Pathology Department by the City Architect, Ebenezer MacRae, 1939.

The Royal Victoria Building was built for the sole purpose of providing a replacement for the Royal Victoria Hospital, a Medicinal unit for Older Adult assessment, and a rehabilitation Unit.

4.1. Services

The Western General provides patients with a wide range of services, including breast surgery, cardiology, colorectal surgery, diabetes, dietetics, endocrinology, endoscopy, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery, hematology, infectious diseases, laboratories, medicine of the elderly, oncology, palliative medicine, renal dialysis, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, stroke medicine, urology, and acute medicine.

5. The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion

Image captured from the official site of The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion

Location- Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9HA.

The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion is part of NHS Lothian’s University Hospitals Division.

The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion (PAEP) is a hospital in Edinburgh dedicated to providing specialist care for the treatment and regulation of diseases or ailing conditions affecting the eye and eyesight of an individual.

The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion comprises one in-patient ward, two-day wards, three intraocular operating surgical theatres, extraocular surgery and procedure facilities, outdoor clinics and an acute referral clinic for emergencies.

The current building designed by Alison & Hutchison formed part of the first segment of the redevelopment of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh between 1965 and 1969.

The departments present at the Moray Pavilion and the Eye, Ear and Throat Infirmary were merged at this new site.

This building was called the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in honour of Princess Alexandra, who officially inaugurated the hospital on 1 October 1969.

In 2005, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown became the patron of a centre of excellent treatment within the Eye Pavilion. Brown had received treatment at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion himself in the 1970s to cure a detached retina of his right eye post a game of rugby.

5.1. Services

The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion provides its patients with services including Acute Referral Clinic, ophthalmology, orthoptics and ocular prosthetics.

6. Spire Edinburgh Hospitals

Image captured from the official site of the Spire Edinburgh Hospitals

Location- 122 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6UD.

Spire Edinburgh Hospitals ranks as the second-largest private healthcare provider in the United Kingdom, established in 2010.

Spire Healthcare operates a broad network of 38 private hospitals and ten clinics across the United Kingdom, along with the London Fertility Centre.

6.1. Services

The Spire Edinburgh Hospitals provide the following services at their branch in Edinburgh, including blood tests, bones and joints, bowel investigations and treatments, cancer investigations and treatments, cosmetic surgery, ear, nose, and throat (ent) treatments, eye surgery and treatments, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery, hand surgery, heart treatments, hip and knee, men’s health, neurology, pediatrics (children’s health), respiratory medicine, scans and investigations, spinal surgery and treatments, skin treatments, urology, vascular, weight loss surgery, and women’s health.

The performance measures taken by this hospital are MRSA blood infections, clostridium difficile, wound infection, returns to theatre, unplanned readmission, patient satiation, and Duty of Candour annual report.

This hospital also provides facilities of Health Insurance and loans to the patients.

6.2. Awards

In the year 2008, Spire Healthcare was awarded the Independent Healthcare Award for Best Healthcare Outcomes and the prestigious Nursing Practice Award in two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010, for their brilliant approach to infection prevention and control.

The Award for Excellence in Risk Management was granted to this group of hospitals in the year 2010. Spire Healthcare took home the Innovation Award in the year 2011, followed by the Medical Practice Award in the year 2012.

7. Chalmers Hospital

Image captured from the official site of  Chalmer’s Hospital

Location 2a Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9HQ.

The Chalmer’s Hospital, located in the centre of Edinburgh, is a sexual health care hospital without an emergency unit.

This is the centre from where NHS Lothian’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Services currently operate.

The Chalmers Hospital was extensively used for civilian casualties during the Second World War. It was amalgamated with the National Health Service (NHS) as a general hospital in the year 1948. It was transformed into a sexual health centre in 2011.

7.1. Services

Chalmer’s Hospital provides the following services contraception(advice and supplies), emergency contraception, free condoms, STI testing, and treatment, HIV including Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), pregnancy testing, referral for termination of pregnancy, community gynecology, menopause, and premenstrual syndrome, gay men’s clinics, colposcopy, young people’s clinics, advice on sexual problems and support following sexual assault.

8. Conclusion

Scotland’s Hospitals provide a wide range of healthcare services under the shadow of the National Health Service(NHS). 

The hospitals in the private as well as the government sector are managed by excellent doctors with world-class infrastructure and transport facilities. 

Scotland has seen excellent advancement, not only in the cultural and technological field but also in the field of health and medicine.

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