Princess Mary's Hospital
PRINCESS MARY’S ROYAL AIR FORCE HOSPITAL HALTON
The original hospital consisted of huts built shortly after the end of WW1. By the mid 1920s, it was realised that a permanent structure was needed to meet the requirements of the developing RAF and a new hospital was opened by HRH Princess Mary on 31st October 1927, after whom it was named. Later additions included the Institute of Pathology and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Community Medicine and the Institute of Dental Health and Training, and a Burns Wing. Great demands were made on the hospital during WW2 when it expanded to take 700 beds. By 1945 it had treated some 20000 war casualties. It also treated casualties from many theatres of war after WW2 and the Cold War.
For many years after the creation of the NHS, Halton Hospital took patients from the local population, among whom it had an outstanding reputation.
Apart from the high quality of its medical and nursing care , Princess Mary’s Hospital gained an international reputation for its development and innovation in medical science and surgical techniques. In 1940, it became the first hospital in the world to use the wonder drug Penicillin on a large scale soon after its discovery by Alexander Flemming and Howard Flore at Oxford. The second renal unit in the UK (the first was at Leeds NHS hospital) was established at Halton in 1950; where Group Captain (later Air-vIce Marshal Sir Ralph Jackson) later developed a mobile Renal Dialysis machine which fitted into a specially modified RAF aircraft and was used in many parts of the world saving countless lives. A cure for Sand Fly fever was developed by Group Captain (later Air Marshal Sir Harold Whittingham) eliminating a disease which had been the scourge of desert populations for years, servicemen serving in such regions of the world. Halton Hospital also played a crucial role in the development of many world firsts in surgical techniques for dealing with burns and plastic and reconstructive surgery.