Inside London’s most exclusive private hospital

Inside London’s most exclusive private hospital

By Antonia Filmer | 10 September, 2016

King Edward VII is London most exclusive private hospital and the “by appointment” hospital of the Royal Family. On arrival the reception is more like that of an old English hotel, belying the existence of the latest technology in the operating theatres upstairs. Before admittance there is a rigorous MRSA screening test and, like Emirates Airline staff, the nurses speak about 17 languages; they are charming and diligent, the wifi is worthy of Silicon Valley and the access code for patients is a pun on Edward VII “King4aday”. Mail and faxes can be delivered to your room and you may take your own food if the delicious room service menu does not appeal, this might be the only hospital with a wine list in your room. There is a library with something for everyone, hairdressing, interpreters, massage and holistic treatments are all available.

In the late C19th sisters Agnes and Fanny Keyser turned their London House into a hospital to care for Officers returning from the Boer War of 1899. Having moved to the present Marylebone location in 1930 the hospital became a registered charity governed by a Royal Charter and has maintained its strong links with the military. The support of 2,500 Friends and ex-patients enable the hospital to offer state of the art treatment to everyone, without exception, who has served in the Armed Forces and their spouses, widows and widowers, this without delay and at little or no cost. The exceptional services are also available to other patients from all walks of life who seek high quality medical consultants and nursing. The centres of excellence that the hospital specialises in are Fertility, Breast, Gynnaecology, Orthopaedics, Pain and Neuro-Science.

With a recent focus on Veterans and the type of care they might need, the hospital have just launched a pilot Pain Management Programme that has already benefitted the Skiing with Heroes initiative, some of these were amputees.

With a recent focus on Veterans and the type of care they might need, the hospital have just launched a pilot Pain Management Programme that has already benefitted the Skiing with Heroes initiative, some of these were amputees.

Fundraising has been fundamental to the hospital and donations, legacies and grants have been generous but expansion plans are calling for further action, now organised by the new Director of Fundraising Tim Braun, previously the Director of Communications at Combat Stress, UK’s leading Veteran’s mental health charity.

In 2012 the hospital gained uncharacteristic notoriety when an Australian radio station, owned by 2Day FM, pranked the Duchess of Cambridge with a telephone call pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles enquiring about her welfare. A helpful but gullible nurse passed the call to Duchess's private ward, where a colleague gave out information about the Duchess’s condition, this conversation was broadcast around the world. The hospital management were mortified and have since reviewed privacy and security protocols. The hoax ended in tragedy when the nurse from Karnataka, who put through the telephone call, unnecessarily felt the blame was hers and committed suicide. St James's Palace indicated that they did not blame either of the nurses for their part in the incident. The radio station issued an apology paid a sum to the nurse’s family in an attempt at compensation. 

The Australian media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) launched an inquiry to assess whether the radio station had breached the conditions of their broadcasting license. The ongoing case has been through the Australian Federal Court and the High Court. ACMA found that 2Day FM had breached the Australian commercial radio code of conduct by broadcasting a statement of an identifiable person (Duchess of Cambridge) without her consent and that they had treated her in a highly exploitative manner. Despite public outrage and numerous calls for legal actions against the DJ’s no charges have yet been laid as a result of the incident.

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