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Queen Victoria Hospital

Queen Victoria Hospital
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Queen Victoria Hospital - - 56997.jpg
Location East Grinstead, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°08′07″N 0°00′05″E / 51.135278°N 0.001389°E / 51.135278; 0.001389Coordinates: 51°08′07″N 0°00′05″E / 51.135278°N 0.001389°E / 51.135278; 0.001389
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Specialist and Foundation Trust
Emergency department Minor Injuries Unit
Beds 80
Founded 1863
Lists Hospitals in England

The Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH), located in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England is the specialist reconstructive surgery centre for the south east of England, and also provides services at clinics across the region. It has become world-famous for its pioneering burns and plastic surgery. The hospital was named after Queen Victoria. The Princess Royal is the current patron of the hospital. It also provides a wide range of routine services in its areas of expertise for local people and runs a Minor Injuries Unit. In July 2012, the hospital produced a short film about its services: Queen Victoria Hospital Short Film 2012.



Archibald McIndoe operating at East Grinstead: a painting by Anna Zinkeisen, 1944

Founded as East Grinstead Cottage Hospital in 1863, the hospital was built on its present site in the 1930s, and was renamed the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1942. During World War II, it developed as a specialist burns unit under the leadership of Sir Archibald McIndoe, and became world-famous for pioneering treatment of RAF and allied aircrew who were badly burned or crushed and required reconstructive plastic surgery. It was where the Guinea Pig Club was formed in 1941, as a social club and support network for the aircrew and their family members. The club continued to provide assistance for Guinea Pigs for many years after the war, and met regularly in East Grinstead until 2007. The Queen Victoria Hospital remains at the forefront of specialist care today, and is renowned for its burns treatment facilities and expertise throughout England.[1]

In recent years a major programme of site developments has been underway to replace the ageing estate. In 2012, a new outpatients department opened, along with refurbished burns and paediatric units. Work to replace all nine of the hospital's old operating theatres with ten new theatres was completed in 2014.


QVH is the regional centre of excellence for burns and for reconstructive surgery – the use of specialist techniques such as tissue transplant and microvascular surgery in the restoration of people who have suffered disfigurement or destructive damage from disease, trauma, major surgery, or congenitally.


The QVH Burns Centre provides specialist burns care treatment for people living in the South East of England. The centre incorporates a five bedded Intensive Care Unit, six minor burn beds, an outpatients clinic and an operating theatre, with a team including specialist burns nurses, consultant plastic surgeons, physiotherapists and anaesthetists.

The hospital was involved in controversy in August 2007 when it turned away an 8-month-old burn victim arriving by air ambulance.[2] The row was finally resolved with both sides agreeing to disagree over the issue.[3]

In conjunction with the Kent Police, a young woman who was seriously burned by a firework and treated at Queen Victoria Hospital has made a video telling her story to help other young people understand the dangers that fireworks present.[4]

Corneo PlasticsEdit

The Corneo Plastic Unit was established by Sir Benjamin Rycroft in the 1940s. The unit specialises in corneal transplantation surgery and oculoplastics. The eye bank, previously named the National Eye Bank at the Queen Victoria Hospital, was established formally in 1952. Sir Benjamin Rycroft was instrumental in the passage of the Tissue Procurement Act, a key piece of legislation with respect to all transplant surgery in the UK.

Today, the Corneo Plastic and Ophthalmology unit performs corneal transplantation, lamellar grafts, and stem cell transplantation for occular surface rehabilitation.[5][6][7] Raman Malhotra, consultant ophthalmologist at the hospital, discovered a method of treating Blepharospasm using filters.[8]

Plastic SurgeryEdit

The hospital is a major centre for patients undergoing either immediate or delayed breast reconstruction, and is linked to surrounding cancer networks. There is an on site team containing consultant plastic surgeons and specialist breast care nurses. Breast reduction and surgery to correct asymmetry are also offered.

Hand surgery is also performed at the hospital. Videos of complex hand operations have been shared on YouTube by Mr Harry Belcher, a consultant hand surgeon at the hospital.[9]

A man had his arm successfully reattached in a 14-hour operation by surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital, after he accidentally cut it off with a 'chainsaw'.[10] After the operation he regained use of his fingers.[11][12]

Maxillofacial SurgeryEdit

The Maxillofacial unit has an international reputation as a training and teaching unit, with staff specialising in oral surgery, orthodontics, facial trauma, head and neck cancer, orthognathic surgery, salivary gland disease, face and jaw reconstruction, and developmental facial deformity. The unit performed major reconstructive surgery on a Crawley woman who was savaged by her own dog.[13]

Sleep ClinicEdit

The East Grinstead Sleep Disorder Centre treats a wide range of problems concerned with sleep, including obstructive sleep apnoea, insomnia, narcolepsy and snoring.

Minor Injuries UnitEdit

The unit is open 8am-10pm every day and is an alternative to A&E departments further afield for cuts and grazes, fractures, sprains, infected wounds, minor head injuries and eye problems such as scratches or infections.


The Therapies Department support the rehabilitation of patients undergoing specialist treatment at the hospital. It also provides a wide range of services for the local community, including physiotherapy, back pain clinics, speech and language therapy, weight management clinics and Parkinson's groups. The department is also part of the first and largest multidisciplinary expert facial palsy team, treating palsy and paralysis patients from across the country.[14]


Peanut Ward is a nine-bed paediatric unit providing specialist plastic surgical, burns, maxillofacial and corneo plastic care for 0–16-year olds. The ward provides separate areas for teenagers, children and babies; facilities for one parent to stay with every child and a separate parents' area. All trained staff on the ward have a paediatric nursing qualification and many have additional qualifications such as child protection, advanced life support, burns and plastics. The ward also contains a play specialist, a teacher, separate baby and child play areas and an outdoor play area.


As the regional specialist centre for reconstructive surgery following trauma, Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) has a well-established telemedicine referral system. This service allows photographs of injuries to be reviewed by clinicians at any time of day or night, regardless of where in the region the patient is located.

In 2014, the Telemedicine Referral Image Portal System (TRIPS) website received over 14,000 referrals. Images were received from over 100 fixed locations in A&E, urgent care centres, walk-in centres, GP Practices, District Nurse Clinics and minor injuries units across the London and South East of the United Kingdom. In addition, 12 paramedic practitioner teams working for the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) are able to send images and receive clinical advice from the scene of an incident, including a patient's home, possibly reducing the need to transfer the patient to an A&E for assessment and then transfer to QVH for definitive treatment. This can save time, effort and distress as some injuries can be treated at the scene without the patient being taken from their home. Their treatment can then be followed up by their GP, district nurse or QVH Tissue Viability Nurse Consultant.

The system also provides a multi-centre referral service for burns and trauma across with five hubs across the London and South East of England. With hubs in Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, St Georges Hospital, Tooting, Stoke Mandeville Hospital Aylesbury and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead all able to accept referral images via the TRIPS secure website. The website is only visible to a computer connected to the NHS virtual private network. (N3)

In 2008 the service won the regional Innovation and Communications Technology Award and the QVH telemedicine system was also chosen to form part of the Institute of Engineering & Technology's 2008 Faraday Lecture on the overall theme of engineering in health and has been included in a documentary.[15]


In the national cancer patient survey for 2011/12, the hospital achieved the highest score for care quality out of all 160 hospital trusts providing cancer services. Ninety-four per cent of cancer patients surveyed rated the care they received at QVH as 'excellent' or 'very good'.[16]

In the national NHS inpatient survey for 2011, the hospital achieved the highest scores in the country for 27 of the 61 questions asked, including 'Overall, how would you rate the care you received?'.[17]

In the 2011 national NHS staff survey, 94% of doctors and nurses said they would recommend their hospital to friends and family, more than at any other hospital in the country.[18]

In 2011, it was found to be the most recommended NHS hospital in the country by the independent Dr Foster Hospital Guide.[19]

It was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in 2015. At that time it had 817 full-time equivalent staff and a sickness absence rate of 3.58%. 91% of staff recommend it as a place for treatment and 74% recommended it as a place to work.[20]

Transport linksEdit

Local bus services are provided by Metrobus. The following routes pass QVH: Route 281: an hourly service which links QVH to the town centre and station, Worsted Farm, Imberhorne, Felbridge, Crawley Down, Copthorne, Three Bridges, Crawley, Lingfield and Dormansland Route 400: an hourly service which links QVH to the town centre, Felbridge, Copthorne, Three Bridges, Crawley, Horley, East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, Godstone and Caterham

In addition, there are connections from East Grinstead town centre and railway station to Crawley, Three Bridges, Forest Row and Tunbridge Wells (route 291) and other surrounding towns and villages. Route 270 now links East Grinstead town centre and railway station to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton via Haywards Heath, Princess Royal Hospital and Burgess Hill.

East Grinstead railway station and Gatwick Airport are a short taxi-ride away from the hospital.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ E. J. Dennison (30 June 1996). A Cottage Hospital Grows Up. ISBN 0-9520933-9-1. 
  2. ^ "Row after burn unit refuses baby". BBC News. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "Health trusts settle baby dispute". BBC News. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  4. ^ "Fireworks safety – Helene's story". YouTube. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Stem cells used for eye disorder". BBC News. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Lister, Sam (29 April 2005). "Pioneering stem-cell surgery restores sight". The Times. London. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  7. ^ Sheraz M. Daya; et al. (March 2005). "Outcomes and DNA analysis of ex vivo expanded stem cell allograft for ocular surface reconstruction". Ophthalmology. 112 (3): 470–477. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2004.09.023. PMID 15745776. 
  8. ^ Nigel Hawkes (19 May 2008). "Filters prevent blindness of eyes that won't open". The Times. London. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Mr Harry Belcher. "'Harry the Hand' surgery videos" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Man lost arm in chainsaw accident". BBC News. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "Chopped arm man can use fingers". BBC News. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "I want to tie my own shoelaces". BBC News. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  13. ^ "Crawley dog attack survivor meets Dog Borstal expert". Crawley Observer. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  14. ^ "Facial palsy first". Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. 5 December 2007. 
  15. ^ "Remote Operations". 1 October 2007. 
  16. ^ "National Cancer Patient Experience Programme 2011/12 Survey" (PDF). August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Survey of adult inpatients". Care Quality Commission. 
  18. ^ "Doctors don't trust their own hospitals". The Daily Telegraph. 20 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Inside your hospital" (PDF). Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2001-2011. November 2011. 
  20. ^ "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 

External linksEdit