About us

A long tradition of excellent care

Behind the welcome and care patients receive when they come to our hospital is a proud tradition of well over 100 years of local hospital services.

It was in 1887, to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee, that a public fund was started.  A site for Southend's first hospital was bought for £350 (where Warrior Square swimming pool now stands).  Built for £1,287.4s.6d Southend Victoria Hospital opened in May 1888.  By Christmas, with 8 beds and 2 cots, it had treated 61 patients at an average weekly cost of 4s.6d (22p).

A brief history of our hospital

  • 1930  Building work commenced
  • 1932  Hospital officially opened by Rt. Hon Earl of Iveagh
  • 1935  Fracture clinic established
  • 1938  Average number of occupied beds for 1st quarter was 221. First modern anaesthetic machine purchased at cost of £92
  • 1939  Outbreak of World War 2. 408 beds ready for service. 25,000 sandbags assembled in position. Plans made for evacuation of hospital
  • 1940  Food rationing introduced to hospital
  • 1945  VE day - double pay to any members of staff required to remain on duty
  • 1946  Two senior nurses (without late night passes) were dismissed for returning to hospital at 02.00 under the influence of alcohol
  • 1947  First female doctor appointed to the resident staff (Dr Catherine Johnstone). Visit by HRH Duchess of Kent
  • 1948  Number of consultants 24. Number of resident medical staff 11. Hospital taken over by the Ministry of Health under the newly-formed NHS
  • 1960  Radio-isotope laboratory opened
  • 1962  Hydrotherapy pool opened
  • 1966  Major extension (tower block) started
  • 1968  Intensive therapy unit opened
  • 1969  Audiology clinic inaugurated. New accident and emergency department opened
  • 1970  Hospital information system computerised. New operating theatres commissioned
  • 1971  Tower Block opened by HRH Princess Anne. Children's Centre opened
  • 1976  Breast screening unit opened (in grounds of Southend Hospital). Sita-Lumsden coronary unit opened
  • 1981  Sportsmen's ward opened to provide an additional 28 beds for orthopaedic patients
  • 1982  Celebration of 50th anniversary of hospital
  • 1985  Eye laser facility purchased from Trust funds and voluntary fundraising
  • 1986  Major refurbishment of accident and emergency department completed
  • 1989  New CT scanner unit opened by the Princess Royal
  • 1990  Diabetes centre opened. Outpatients' waiting areas upgraded
  • 1991  Southend became an NHS Trust. £27m plans approved to centralise all acute services at Southend (transferring services from the Rochford site). Number of senior medical staff 80
  • 1992  Second linear accelerator unit completed. Celebration of Southend Hospital's Diamond Jubilee
  • 1993  Separate £1m eye clinic opened. New 18-station renal dialysis unit opened. Work started on the new £11m extension and the refurbishment of all tower block wards
  • 1994  £27m redevelopment programme under way to centralise all acute services on the Southend Hospital site.  Installation of £1m MRI scanner (result of community fundraising)
  • 1995  Rochford Hospital acute services successfully transferred to Southend
  • 1996  15-bed accident and emergency observation ward opened. £550,000 day-surgery unit completed. Number of senior medical staff 11
  • 1997  Southend Hospital officially designated Cancer Centre status
  • 1998  50th Anniversary of the NHS
  • 1999  £250,000 extension to the Renal Unit opened plus work started on a £1m programme to rebuild and refurbish pathology labs
  • 2000  £400,000 Leukaemia Unit opened thanks to massive support from the local community
  • 2001  Completion of £3.4m A&E department.First of 2 additional 25-bed wards opened (Dowsett ward)
  • 2002  New four-bed high dependency unit for surgical patients opened on Kitty Hubbard Ward.  Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) introduced.  Tyrells Health Wing, Benfleet opened
  • 2003  £500,000 Ladybird workplace nursery opened.  Nightingale Centre opened (Women's clinic/breast unit).  £2.4m project completed to provide two new operating theatres.  Hospital achieved 3 star status
  • 2004  £1.6m Lighthouse Centre opened thanks to donated money from the Building Blocks Appeal.  New 12-bedded surgical assessment unit opened on Dowsett ward.  New Angioplasty service now available
  • 2005  New endoscopy suite opened.  One replacement and one new MRI scanner installed
  • 2006  £4.75m Centre for Clinical Oncology (Radiotherapy) opened with two new linac machines. 1st June - hospital gained Foundation Trust status - new name Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • 2006  Introduction of PACS (picture archiving and communication system) to replace X-Ray films; opening of centre for clinical oncology, housing most up-to-date equipment
  • 2007  Month of celebrations (July) to mark Southend Hospital's 75th (diamond) anniversary; successful closure of Pinpoint Cancer Appeal which raised more than £480,000 for a revolutionary image-guided radiotherapy system (only the seventh in the country to have this equipment). Launch of StrokeBusters Appeal
  • 2008  Renal unit extension opening, increasing number of dialysis stations from 18 to 28; installation of new pharmacy dispensing robot
  • 2009  Successful closure of £1m StrokeBusters Appeal; launch of £750,000 Bosom Pals Appeal; opening of wound management unit; opening of new multi-faith facility; opening of dedicated bereavement suite
  • 2010  Opening of Carlingford Centre
  • 2011  Opening of our newly-refurbished outpatients department
  • 2012  First patient treated with high dose brachytherapy. The hospital is currently the only centre in Essex to offer this form of treatment to prostate cancer patients
  • 2013  International Symposium and Imaging Workshop on giant cell arteritis (GCA), polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and large vessel vasculitis (LVV), organised by the hospital with some of the world's leading experts on rheumatic diseases in attendance
  • 2014  Opening of a dedicated fetal medicine unit - the only one of its kind in Essex - providing the latest and very best care for women and their unborn children