Darlington Memorial Hospital is an acute NHS hospital providing healthcare for people living in south Durham which includes the towns of Darlington, Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Ferryhill and Barnard Castle. The hospital was recently rated as requires improvement following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission for England.
The Hospital is run by (and serves as the headquarters for) the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which achieved Foundation Trust status in 2007.
These include: Accident and Emergency, Maternity/SCBU, Children's Ward, Trauma and Orthopaedics, General Surgery (Day Surgery, Elective Surgery and Emergency Surgery), Acute Medical, Chemotherapy, Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), High Dependency Unit(HDU), Coronary Care (CCU), Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Unit and Eye Unit.
The main 'tower block' is the most modern and distinctive part of the hospital. It has a basement a ground floor and six further floors. It contains all the wards in the hospital, the eye and ENT departments, the pathology department, the lecture theatre and library, catering services, restaurant and some administrative facilities.
To the front of this is a three-storey building which contains accident and emergency, the main outpatients department, theatres, radiography and physiotherapy. The pharmacy and domestics are in the basement of this building.
The site also contains 'the Women's Centre' and a large portion of the offices for the health trust.
Other facilities include a childcare centre for the doctors.
Children's psychology is still provided on the DMH site in the 'Mulberry Centre', managed by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV). TEWV's predecessors operated a psychiatric unit on site until its relocation to the new West Park Hospital on the outskirts of Darlington.
Recently the stroke unit has been relocated to University Hospital of North Durham. This decision was made because although the ambulance journey to Durham is 24 minutes, stroke patients were waiting too long to receive the right treatment. It was considered a better idea to consolidate stroke services into one more efficient unit.
There are some services such as neurosurgery, heart surgery and radiotherapy which are not provided at Darlington Memorial Hospital. The super-sized James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough is the region's designated hospital for these specialties. The hospital also provides no intermediate care for rehab patients. Most of these are treated at Bishop Auckland General Hospital and the Richardson Community Hospital in Barnard Castle.
While this hospital is designated for Eye and Ear, Nose and Throat surgery, University Hospital of North Durham in Durham City deals with plastic surgery, vascular surgery and dermatology.
Darlington Memorial Hospital also takes the trauma, emergency surgery cases, and babies needing special care baby unit treatment from the Bishop Auckland catchment area.
The first hospital to open in Darlington was the Hundens Lane Isolation Hospital in the 1800s. Soon after this Darlington Hospital and dispensary opened on Russell Street. Greenbank Maternity Hospital opened in the late nineteenth century and a Red Cross Hospital operated on Skinnergate in the early 20th century.
Darlington Memorial Hospital was officially opened in 1933 by Prince George (who later became the Duke of Kent), fourth son of George V. Many people gathered to see its official opening.
The 'Memorial Hall' is the only remaining part of the original hospital and is a listed building and stands behind the war memorial which existed before the hospital did. It is now used for occupational health, the personnel department and the training and development offices. Much of the older hospital was sited on what is now the visitors' car park. Hundens Lane Hospital later became an ear, nose and throat hospital before its closure. Greenbank Maternity hospital also closed and both are now demolished.
The 'New Hospital' was officially opened in 1980. Most of the beds are now in 6 bedded single sex bays with toilets and shower facilities. There are no 'Nightingale' wards remaining.