First founded in 1845, St Mary’s Hospital has become the site of many groundbreaking medical achievements. The hospital, located on Praed Street in Paddington, is the place where Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin, and to this day visitors can see Fleming’s famous laboratory where the historic discovery took place. St Mary’s Hospital has also been the birthplace of many famous icons, including Prince William and Harry, musician Elvis Costello and actor Kiefer Sutherland. Estate agents in Paddington have recently raised concerns about the future of the famous St Mary’s Hospital, but the NHS has assured Londoners that there are no plans to close the Paddington healthcare facility.
Reports surfaced recently that St Mary’s Hospital could face possible closure as part of NHS cost-cutting measures; sources claimed that the 500-bed Paddington hospital would be sold to property developers, and that a number of London architects would soon provide cost estimates for converting St Mary’s into a modern apartment building with 3000 flats. There was even speculation that the teaching hospital would be the first of several closures as the NHS aimed to cut £20 billion from its budget.
Public concern over the loss of such an important local facility is understandable; but happily the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, responsible for running St Mary’s and four other London hospitals, has denied all reports of closure. Late last year, the trust did invite architects and engineers to look into the further development of various London hospital sites, but while this included the possibility of revamping and rebuilding some hospital facilities, the possibility of closing St Mary’s was never raised.
A spokeswoman for the Trust told press that they have not been liaising with architectural firms to convert St Mary’s hospital into a residential property and that there are no plans to shut down the hospital. She added that the Trust has a £70 million cost reduction programme in place for the current financial year. Despite the financial challenges facing the Trust, the spokeswoman said “Our top priority is to ensure we continue to deliver high-quality, safe services… while striving to balance our books”.
Central London estate agents would agree that while St Mary’s would make an attractive residential development in a popular London location, the hospital is far more valuable as a healthcare and medical teaching facility. St Mary’s Hospital is one of London’s four major trauma units, and is also the site of a new surgical innovation centre. In light of these facts, it’s good to know that the future of St Mary’s Hospital is safe.