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MRI History Repeats Itself!

It was 100 years ago today (6th July) that the Manchester Royal Infirmary building on Oxford Road was formally opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. King Edward was so impressed with the new facilities when he visited on 6th July 1909 that he knighted hospital Chairman William Cobbett on the spot. Later this week, 11th July, the Manchester Royal Infirmary celebrates its new wing opening with the transfer of patients to the new wards and departments. Many of the medical services, which are currently housed in the older parts of Manchester Royal Infirmary, will relocate into purpose-built facilities in the new hospital build. These services including Haematology, Renal and Acute Medicine have been heavily involved in the design of the new areas. The new Haematology Unit will have in-patient/out-patient and day case facilities. The in-patient ward will include 14 state-of-the-art isolation cubicles for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. In total there will be 22 in-patient beds, four more than the current Haematology ward. An improvement to the service will be the ability to increase the number of bone marrow transplants they are able to carry out. Following the move of the Renal Dialysis Unit into the new build some 18 months ago, the Renal wards will now be co-located with this area. Included in this, are a small number of beds for patients with acute renal failure who require close monitoring and support. This will allow for a comprehensive Renal service to be delivered in the new building. The renal service will see the introduction of the Acute Kidney Unit (AKU) and patients will be able to receive dialysis at their bedside whilst on the ward. There are also a number of purpose-built isolation rooms. All services will benefit from the improvement in facilities and space with in-patient areas seeing a large increase in single room and en-suite facilities. In addition there will be an expansion of surgical services already existing in the new build. This will take the form of an increased area for the Elective Treatment Centre (ETC) and new oral surgery day case facilities. Peter Mount, Trust Chairman says: “The MRI is the second of our new hospitals to open. This is a fantastic development which incorporates our four brand new state-of-the-art hospitals. The new facilities will enable our staff to continue to deliver a high level of care throughout the Manchester Royal Infirmary. We are delighted to unveil this next stage of our £500 million new hospitals development which we are sure will change the future of healthcare for the people of Manchester and beyond. “It seems a strange co-incidence that 100 years later we are planning moving patients from our other hospitals to the Oxford Road site!” ENDS Notes: The Manchester Royal Infirmary was established on 27th July 1752 in a small house in the centre of Manchester. In 1755 a new infirmary was built on the site of what we now know as Piccadilly Gardens. The new building cost £2,587. The new infirmary on this site expanded over the years with new wings being added. In 1902 a debate broke out as to whether or not to re-build a new hospital on the existing site or on a new site further out of town as the city centre was noisy and unhealthy. The plans for the new hospital were formally approved at a special meeting of the Trustees on 27th July 1904. By the end of 1905 the excavations and foundations had been completed and work was proceeding up to the level of the ground floor. By the end of 1906 there were 700 men at work on the new building and such excellent progress had been made that it was clear that the work would be completed to schedule and that the total cost would be £500,000. The new hospital had capacity for 600 beds. On 24th November 1908 The Board of Management met for the last time at the Piccadilly site – the Minutes end as follows: This being the last meeting of the Board of Management in the present building, as the removal of patients would take place on 1st December, the Chairman referred in feeling terms to the work of the Infirmary during the last 150 years and to the still greater sphere of usefulness which lay before it. Resolved, that the cordial thanks of the Board be given to Mr Cobbett for his services as Chairman and that the Board look forward to his occupying the chair of the New Infirmary for many years to come. On 1st December 1908 the great day arrived. The work of transferring the patients to the new building was carried out with ease and smoothness that won the admiration of the patients themselves and said much for the care with which the whole business had been planned. The number of patients had been reduced to a minimum. Still there were few short of a hundred to be conveyed from the old building to the new. The raw December morning with fog hanging all about the streets was not an ideal one for the purpose. There were five horse ambulances and Salford’s new motor ambulance in the use together with horse drawn carriages and taxis and the Infirmary’s own omnibus that usually transported convalescent patients to Cheadle. The patients, warmly wrapped up, were carried down the hospital steps on chairs and stretchers and placed in waiting vehicles. The journey took half an hour from bed to bed and there were doctors, nurses and hot drinks to welcome them to their new wards.