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Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Buckinghamshire Healthcare
File:Stoke Mandeville Hospital New PFI Building - - 262468.jpg
Stoke Mandeville Hospital New PFI Building
Location Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency
Beds 369
Speciality Spinal cord injury
Founded 1832
Lists Hospitals in England

Stoke Mandeville Hospital is a large National Health Service hospital in the District of Aylesbury Vale and the town of Aylesbury, near the village of Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire. It is part of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

The hospital's National Spinal Injuries Centre is one of the largest specialist spinal units in the world, and the pioneering rehabilitation work carried out there by Sir Ludwig Guttmann led to the development of the Paralympic Games. Mandeville, one of the official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, was named in honour of the hospital's contribution to Paralympic sports.[1]


In the early 1830s the village of Stoke Mandeville was badly affected by cholera epidemics that swept across England. A cholera hospital was established on the parish border between Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury. It was founded with monies provided by both parishes, but was built separately from both places as cholera was very contagious and the inhabitants were anxious to avoid infection.

By the start of the Twentieth century the hospital had developed into an Infectious Diseases Hospital, treating all infections, not just cholera. However the town of Aylesbury was growing, and the distance between the town and the hospital was getting smaller, and before long people with infectious diseases could no longer be treated at the hospital because the risk of infecting the local community was too great.

WW2: Spinal Injuries Clinic foundation

During World War 2, the hospital was used to treat military casualties, and was expanded during this time to cater for the extra patients, so as to support the nearby Royal Bucks Hospital, in the centre of Aylesbury.

In September 1943 the government asked German-expatriate spinal injuries specialist Dr Ludwig Guttmann to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville.[2] The centre opened on 1 February 1944, and Guttmann was appointed its director (a position he held until 1946). As director of the UK's first specialist unit for treating spinal injuries, he believed that sport was a major method of therapy for injured military personnel helping them build up physical strength and self-respect.

Guttmann became a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom in 1945.[3] Guttmann organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled personnel on 28 July 1948, the same day as the start of the London 1948 Summer Olympics. Dr. Guttmann used the term paraplegic games to National Games held in order to encourage his patients to take part.

The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch WW2 veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These Stoke Mandeville Games have been described as the precursors of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympics were subsequently officialised as a quadrennial event tied to the Olympic Games, and the first official Paralympic Games, no longer open solely to war veterans, were held in Rome in 1960.[4]

1948: NHS

In 1948 the NHS was founded and all operations were moved from the Royal Bucks to Stoke Mandeville, making it the main hospital in Aylesbury. Aylesbury had, by this time, grown to such an extent that the hospital became a part of the town.

Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the hospital was added to extensively and the new Accident and Emergency Unit was opened. Also during this period Stoke Mandeville Stadium was developed alongside the hospital and is the National Centre for Disability Sport in the United Kingdom, enhancing the hospital as a world centre for paraplegics and spinal injuries.

In the 1970s and 1980s the hospital received support from its biggest campaigner Jimmy Savile who gave it a high profile on his television appearances, and raised an immense amount of money for the hospital. He was knighted for the amount of time he donated. The hospital was also visited during this time by many distinguished guests, particularly Diana, Princess of Wales, who opened the new International Spinal Injuries Centre when it was refurbished.


Today the hospital is still growing, with a new maternity unit opened in 2009,[5] and plans to refurbish the Accident and Emergency Unit and further extend the hospital.

New wings have been built in recent years. These have been funded by the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), under a 30-year contract provisioned by multinational Sodexho. Sodexho is also contracted to provide housekeeping, domestics, catering, vending, portering, non-emergency patient transport, telecommunications, car parking, security, maintenance, help desk (non-technical) and switchboard. All of the portering, catering, domestic, maintenance, security and help desk staff are employed by Sodexho rather than the NHS Trust.

Historic sexual abuse at the hospital

The joint Metropolitan Police Service and National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children report of the investigations into sexual abuse committed by disc jockey Jimmy Savile found that Savile, who was a valued fundraiser for the institution, committed offences there between 1965 and 1988. Twenty-two offences there between those dates have been formally recorded as crimes by the police.[6] A former child patient at the hospital has said that nurses warned her to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep when Savile was due to visit.[7]

Dr Michael Salmon, consultant paediatrician at Stoke Mandeville hospital, was convicted and jailed for three years in 1990 for indecent assaults on teenaged girl patients, two thirteen-year-olds and one sixteen-year-old girl.[8] In the aftermath of the Savile scandal, Salmon was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree on 17 December 2013. He was subsequently convicted of nine indecent assaults and two rapes, with victim's ages ranging from eleven to eighteen and having occurred between 1973 and 1988. Despite working at the hospital at the same time as Savile there is no known link between the two.[9]

Independent investigator Dr Androulla Johnstone published a report on Savile's activities at the hospital on 26 February 2015. The report found that he had sexually abused more than 50 people there, including staff, patients and visitors; one was an 8-year-old child. Savile had full access to all parts of the hospital. The report stated that it was widely known at the hospital that Savile was a "sex pest", and that 10 complaints had been made at the time, but no action was taken.[10] The report also found that three doctors, including Salmon, had been convicted of sex crimes against their patients in the preceding four decades.[11]


On 27 February 2013, Buckinghamshire disability charity BuDS announced that it was compiling a dossier of evidence about risks to patient safety at Stoke Mandeville hospital to send to the Care Quality Commission. The charity claimed that it had received "alarming reports from various sources ... expressing serious concerns about patient safety at the hospital".[12][13]

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust responded by saying "it was ‘somewhat irresponsible of BuDS to potentially worry patients by hinting at patient safety issues at the hospital". The charity, however, defended its action and said “BuDS wanted to give staff, patients and visitors at Stoke Mandeville hospital a wholly anonymous way to report any concerns they might have".[14]

On 20 April 2013 the CQC published a report after an unannounced inspection at the hospital. It found that the hospital did not meet the standards for staffing levels and for providing support to staff. Enforcement action was taken regarding supporting staff and a warning notice was served.[15]


Ward Number/Name Speciality
1 Trauma and Orthopaedic
2 Trauma and Orthopaedic
3 Paediatrics
4 Gastroenterology & General Medicine
5 Cancer and Haematology
6 Respiratory & General Medicine
7 Endocrinology & General Medicine?
8 Medicine for the elderly
9 Short Stay
10/Medical assessment unit (MAU) Emergency admissions
Burns Unit Burns and Plastic Surgery
15 Acute Surgical
16 A General Surgery, Plastic Surgery
16 B General Surgery, Plastic Surgery
CDU Clinical Decisions Unit
22 Discharge lounge, DVT clinic, overflow
Eye ward Ophthalmology and overflow

The table above shows the adult wards at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Stoke Mandeville hospital hopes to help educate children in first aid and runs regular school tours.

Transport links

The hospital is served by the London to Aylesbury Line and the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line from Aylesbury railway station. There are bus services connecting the hospital with Aylesbury and High Wycombe run by Arriva and also with Leighton Buzzard.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio is a non-profit hospital radio station which was founded in 1978. It is located within the hospital complex and provides a 24-hour radio service to the patients and staff streaming its service online, on 1575 MW and via bedside headsets within the hospital.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "London 2012 unveils Games mascots Wenlock & Mandeville". BBC News. 19 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann". Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Edited by Vanlandewijck, Yves C. Thompson, Walter R.(2011) The Paralympic Athlete: Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science (An IOC Medical Commission publication). Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 1: Background to the Paralytic movement. ISBN 978-1-4443-3404-3. Google Book Search. Retrieved on 25 August 2012
  4. ^ "Paralympics traces roots to Second World War", CBC, 3 September 2008
  5. ^ "Staff gearing up for changes to maternity services at Stoke Mandeville Hospital", Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, 15 October 2009
  6. ^ "Giving Victims a Voice" (PDF). Crown Prosecution Service. p. 36. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Nurses used to 'dread' Savile hospital visits". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jimmy Savile inquiry looking at alleged sexual abuse by three doctors". The Guardian. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Doctor, 80, guilty of sex attacks on young girls at Jimmy Savile hospital". Express. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Titheradge, Noel (26 February 2015). "Savile abuse: Stoke Mandeville staff 'were told'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Gallagher, Paul (27 February 2015). "Jimmy Savile: Schemes allowing volunteers to work in NHS' could lead to more abuse cases". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS)". Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Charity: Stoke Mandeville hospital staff concerned over safety". Bucks Free Press. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Disability charity slams Bucks Healthcare Trust’s criticism of anonymous report". Bucks Herald. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Inspection Report 20 April 2013". Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio - Station History". Retrieved 27 May 2015. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°47′59″N 0°48′08″W / 51.79965°N 0.80235°W / 51.79965; -0.80235{{#coordinates:51.79965|N|0.80235|W|source:placeopedia|||| |primary |name= }}