Worthing’s first hospital was a dispensary in Ann Street, created in 1829. A new dispensary was set up in 1845 in Chapel Road, which when enlarged in 1860 became known as the Worthing Infirmary and Dispensary. This moved to Lyndhurst Road in 1882, which is the location of the current hospital, and it cost £5,000. In 1902 it was given the name Worthing Hospital.
In 1936 X-ray technology came to Worthing, with, according to the local paper, “the staggering amount of 200,000 volts of electricity being generated by a giant apparatus, the very latest result of scientific research”.
In 1939, the Princess Royal opened a new children’s ward and in 1946 there were record numbers of births at the hospital – 578 boys and 553 girls.
In 1960 the first helicopter ambulance landed in Homefield Park to transfer a cyclist with spinal injuries to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
A few years later in 1997 and 1998, the hospital underwent a £50 million development programme when the East Wing opened. It used a million bricks and 150,000 tonnes of concrete and was officially opened by the Princess Royal. The interior design is colour-coded: terracotta, to represent the earth on the ground floor; green, for the downs on the first floor; and blue, the sky, on the second and third floors.
Important developments in patient care were also made in 1998 when the renal dialysis unit opened; meaning patients with kidney failure no longer had to travel to Portsmouth or Brighton for dialysis up to three times a week. The new diabetes centre also opened bringing all diabetic care into one place and three years later the £1.3 million Children’s Centre opened its doors.
In 2004 surgeons pioneered ‘keyhole’ operating techniques for the treatment of stomach cancers and the A&E department was rated one of the best in the country and earned the Trust £100,000 government award for fund further developments in emergency care. In the same year the £2 million catheter laboratory opened which improved the cardiac service offered to patients requiring angiograms.
Two years later in 2006, the gynaecology unit received international recognition for its surgical expertise and the following year the new MRI scanner completed the Trust’s £1.3 million programme of investment in state-of-the-art scanning equipment.
The hospital was awarded CHKS Top 40 Hospital status in 2008 and opened a refurbished coronary care unit. In October 2008 the hospital began preparing to merge with Royal West Sussex NHS Trust, St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, which was completed in April 2009 to create Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.