The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

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The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Location Brompton and Belmont, London, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Affiliated university Institute of Cancer Research Imperial College London
Emergency department None
Beds 269
Speciality Oncology
Founded 1851
Lists Hospitals in England

The Royal Marsden Hospital (RM) is a specialist cancer treatment hospital in London. It is an NHS Foundation Trust, and operates facilities on two sites:


The Royal Marsden was the first hospital in the world dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer. It was founded as the Free Cancer Hospital in 1851 by Dr William Marsden at 1, Cannon Row, Westminster. Marsden, deeply affected by the death of his wife Elizabeth Ann from cancer, resolved to classify tumours, research the causes and find new treatments. The hospital at first consisted solely of a dispensary and the drugs prescribed were palliative and aimed at treating symptoms, but it allowed William Marsden the opportunity to study and research the disease.

The hospital quickly outgrew its original premises as it became apparent that some patients required inpatient care. It moved locations several times during the 1850s until its benefactors decided to find a permanent solution. Funds were raised to build a dedicated new building. The hospital was granted its Royal Charter of Incorporation by King George V in 1910 and became known as The Cancer Hospital (Free). This was subsequently changed by King Edward VIII to include the word ‘Royal’ and in 1954 the hospital was renamed The Royal Marsden Hospital in recognition of the vision and commitment of its founder.

When the National Health Service was formed, in 1948, the Royal Marsden became a post-graduate teaching hospital. In response to the need to expand to treat more patients and train more doctors, a second hospital in Sutton, London was opened in 1962.

Sutton site history

The original buildings on the Sutton site were first used as the Banstead Road branch of the South Metropolitan District School, which was a 'district' school for children of workhouse inmates in south London. In the 1890s, girls were kept at the Banstead Road site and boys were kept at a site on Brighton Road, which was built in 1851. The Brighton Road site later became Belmont workhouse and Belmont Psychiatric hospital, before being demolished in the 1980s. The Banstead Road site later became a sanatorium, before the southern half of the site was acquired by Royal Marsden in 1962.


In 1991 the Royal Marsden became the first NHS hospital to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Technology for its work on drug development. The hospital achieved the international quality standard ISO 9001 for radiotherapy in 1996 and for chemotherapy in 2003. It was recognised as one of six centres of excellence in the Government’s NHS Plan and has achieved four national Charter Marks for all its services, the most recent awarded in 2005.

In April 2004, it became one of the first NHS Foundation Trusts.

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 3528 full-time equivalent staff and a sickness absence rate of 2.85%. 89% of staff recommend it as a place for treatment and 71% recommended it as a place to work.[1]


On Wednesday, January 2, 2008 just before 1:30pm, a fire broke out in a plant room on the top floor of the hospital, which led to the evacuation of all patients and staff from the unit. The entire roof of the Chelsea Wing of the hospital was burned through, and the top floor was also affected. Five operating theatres and at least two wards were put out of action. The smoke was visible for miles around.[2]

In addition to the evacuation of 200 staff and outpatients, 79 inpatients - 37 of them bedded - were moved to a local church and the neighbouring Royal Brompton Hospital, some being carried on hospital mattresses by a team of emergency services and doctors.[3] Two patients were still undergoing surgery in the operating theatres in the basement and had to be evacuated. Later, full-care was resumed by RM medical staff who re-assembled on the wards of The Royal Brompton.

A hospital official said that damage was less than thought and BBC reports the day after the fire stated that out-patients would be seen on the following Monday and that research documentation had not been lost.[citation needed]

When the fire was at its peak, 125 firefighters and 16 ambulances were in attendance.[3] Two members of staff suffered slight smoke inhalation but there were no other casualties or injuries. They were taken to the nearby Chelsea and Westminster Hospital A&E department.

Monday 7 January saw the reopening of its outpatients department and radiotherapy unit. Later that week, inpatients were welcomed back to The Royal Marsden from their temporary home at The Royal Brompton.

London Fire Brigade received 24 emergency calls reporting the fire. Over the period of the fire 111 fire appliances attended and 56 officers including the assistant commissioner.[4]

Timeline of Fire

The London Fire Brigade declared a 25 pump persons reported fire.[4]

  • 13:20—Call received stating smoke issuing from roof
  • 13:21—3 appliances dispatched including watch manager
  • 13:22—Large volumes of calls received for fire
  • 13:22—Station manager dispatched
  • 13:22—Control unit dispatched
  • 13:23—Update from hospital: Smoke reported from Wiltshire Ward 2nd Level main building
  • 13:25—Group manager dispatched
  • 13:34—Area manager dispatched
  • 14:12—Persons reported
  • 14:23—Assistant commissioner dispatched
  • 14:39—London ambulance service declare a major incident
  • 15:00—Building reported evacuated
  • 16:47—50% of roof alight, damage control operation in progress
  • 18:13—79 patients and approximately 200 staff confirmed evacuated from affected areas
  • 19:46—Actions in progress to facilitate normal hospital working
  • 20:45—Fire reported as surrounded

Notable physicians

Famous patients

The local press in south London frequently has reports of fundraising activities performed by patients and/or their relatives.

See also


  1. "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Fire forces hospital's evacuation". BBC. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-01-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fire At Royal Marsden Hospital In London". Sky News. 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2008-09-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1

External links