Trafford General Hospital, in Davyhulme, Greater Manchester, England is generally considered to be the UK’s first National Health Service (NHS) hospital. It was founded in 1926 by the Barton-upon-Irwell Union, but following the abolition of poor law unions in 1930, responsibility for the hospital transferred to Lancashire County Council. Upon the inauguration of the NHS in 1948, what was then known as Park Hospital was symbolically handed over to the NHS in the person of the then health minister, Aneurin Bevan, on 5 July 1948; Park hospital thus became the first in the world to offer free healthcare to all.
Today Trafford General is managed by the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Work began on what was originally named Davyhulme Park Hospital, established by the Barton-upon-Irwell Union, in 1926. The union had been established in keeping with the requirement of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 for parishes to create unions offering provision to the poor. The hospital opened to patients on 17 December 1928, and was officially opened by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles on 1 June 1929. When the Local Government Act of 1929 abolished the poor law unions, the hospital became the responsibility of Lancashire County Council.
During the Second World War the hospital functioned initially as a British Military Hospital, designated the Davyhulme Military Hospital. The first patients arrived in 1940 as a result of the German Invasion of Norway. Later the hospital was transferred to the US military, becoming the 10th US Station Hospital. Following the war it was de-requisitioned and returned to Lancashire County Council.
The hospital is regarded as the first National Health Service hospital. Then known as Park Hospital, it was visited by the then health minister Aneurin Bevan on 5 July 1948. In a symbolic ceremony Aneurin Bevan received the keys from Lancashire County Council outside the hospital, flanked by a “guard of honour” of nurses.
Thirteen-year-old Sylvia Diggory (née Beckingham) became the first NHS patient. Later in her life she recalled that:
Mr Bevan asked me if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me that it was a milestone in history – the most civilised step any country had ever taken, and a day I would remember for the rest of my life – and of course, he was right.
— Sylvia Diggory
The first baby born under the NHS, Sandra Pook (née Howarth), was also delivered at the hospital. In 1988 both she and Sylvia Diggory attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the hospital’s transfer to the NHS, during which it was renamed Trafford General Hospital.
Trafford General, along with Altrincham Hospital and Stretford Memorial Hospital, became part of the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) on 1 April 2012. On 1 October 2017 the CMFT was merged with the University of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) to form the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), which is now responsible for the running of Trafford General.