Medway Maritime Hospital

Medway Maritime Hospital
Medway NHS Trust
Location Gillingham, Kent ME7 5NY, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type General
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency
Beds 588
Founded 1902
Lists Hospitals in England

Medway Maritime Hospital is a general hospital in Gillingham, England within the NHS South East Coast. It is run by Medway NHS Foundation Trust. It is Kent's largest and busiest hospital, dealing with around 400,000 patients annually.[1] It was founded as the Royal Naval Hospital in 1902 for the Naval personnel at the Chatham Dockyard. At that time the main corridor was almost 1,000 feet long.[2]

An Arriva bus at Medway Maritime Hospital bus stop

The hospital was where the Piano Man was taken after being found wandering in a soaking wet suit and tie.


The hospital was opened as the Royal Naval Hospital by King Edward VII on 26 July 1905 as a replacement for the 252 bed Melville Hospital (Naval), which was not large enough to deal with the increasing numbers of Naval personnel moving into Chatham.[3] The hospital has a large Grade II Listed water tower / Chimney. The chimney acts as a local landmark over Gillingham.[4] On 15 January 1961 the hospital was transferred by the Admiralty to the NHS and became part of the Medway Health Authority. The hospital closed for modernisation, and after some delays, opened again in 1965 under the name "Medway Hospital".[5] After a £60 million development in 1999, the hospital changed its name to "Medway Maritime Hospital" and services were transferred from neighbouring hospitals St Bartholomew's in Rochester and All Saints' in Chatham.

In 2008 the hospital hit controversy when it took six hours to admit a man suffering from a curable virus, who later died.[6]


Medway Maritime Hospital has 588 beds in 29 wards under five main departments: accident and emergency, adult medicine, surgery and anaesthetics, children and women, clinical support services. [7] Under an ongoing and regularly updated NHS survey,[8] the quality of service is regarded as "fair", with 96% of patients waiting less than 18 weeks for treatment.[9] The hospital is run by the Medway NHS Foundation Trust, one of four hospital trusts in Kent. The trust employs over 3500 staff. The trust's main focus is running the Medway Maritime Hospital.[10] Medway is a foundation trust, which means it has more financial and operational freedom than "ordinary" NHS Trusts.[11]

Hospital Radio Medway

Medway Hospital Radio was formed in 1970.[12] The radio station has over 45 volunteers and 2 broadcast studios located in the basement of the hospital. It broadcasts to all the wards in the hospital. Very few people now listen to hospital radio as the hospital has installed national professional TV & Radio to nearly all beds - though it is still an available option

The Piano Man

Main article: Andreas Grassl

An unidentified man who became known as "Piano Man" was treated at Medway Hospital during April 2005. The man was found wandering the streets in Sheerness, wearing a soaking wet suit and tie. Despite many attempts to communicate with him, he remained silent. When given a pen and paper he drew a grand piano. When taken to a piano in the hospital chapel, it was repoted he played classical music non-stop for four hours, however this was not the case as hospital staff afterwards stated he just played with the piano like someone with no training. [13] After four months he revealed his identity as Andreas Grassl from Bavaria, and he returned home.[14]

See also


  1. "The Medway NHS Trust > About the Trust". Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  2. "History". Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  3. "Medway Maritime Hospital". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  4. "Medway Hospital, Laundry Water Tower, Gillingham". Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  5. "Medway Hospital (Hansard, 16 November 1964)". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  6. "Sitting in a hospital cubicle, clutching his stomach... The picture that shows a father during the six-hour wait to be seen in A&E before he died". Daily Mail. London.
  7. "Medway Maritime Hospital – Dr Foster Hospital Guide". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  8. "How we collected this data". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  9. "Medway Maritime Hospital General Information". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  10. "Working for us". Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  11. "NHS South East Coast – Acute trusts". Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  12. "History". Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  13. "Fantastic response to 'piano man'". BBC news. London. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  14. "'Piano Man' flies back to Germany". BBC news. London. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
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Coordinates: 51°22′48″N 0°32′31″E / 51.38000°N 0.54194°E / 51.38000; 0.54194

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