Lothian Hospital Histories
Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital
Both Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital and Bruntsfield Hospital were closely connected with Edinburgh's best known medical women. They originated from the wishes of Sophia Jex-Blake and Elsie Inglis to provide medical care for women, while at the same time offering practical experience to young female doctors.
In November 1899, at the same time as the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children moved to Bruntsfield Lodge, the Medical Women's Club led by Elsie Inglis opened a seven bed hospital, known as the George Square Nursing Home, at 11 George Square. In 1904 the Home moved to 219 High Street and was renamed the Hospice: its main aim was to provide assistance to the poorer women of Edinburgh during pregnancy and confinement. In 1910 this Hospice amalgamated with the Bruntsfield Hospital, with whom it had shared cooperation between staff for a number of years. While the Bruntsfield catered for medical, surgical and gynaecological work, the Hospice carried out obstetrics and infant work. Both institutions carried on their own dispensaries and retained their own names.
During World War I Elsie Inglis set up the Scottish Women's Hospitals which sent hospital units to France, Serbia, Russia, Corsica and Greece. She herself worked in Russia and Serbia from 1915 to 1917. When the Scottish Women's Hospitals were disbanded, it was decided that the funds should be used to provide a memorial to her work. In Edinburgh this resulted in the building of the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital which opened in July 1925 with 20 beds. The bed complement quickly increased and by the time of the hospital's closure it had reached 82.
In 1948 the hospital came under the control of Edinburgh Southern Hospitals group of South Eastern Regional Hospital Board, and in 1984 it formed part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Unit, finally closing in 1988.
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