King's Cross Hospital

King's Cross Hospital was opened in November 1889 at Clepington Road, Dundee. It was the first permanent fever hospital in Dundee for the treatment of infectious diseases, such as typhus, smallpox, diptheria, etc. Prior to this fever patients were admitted to ordinary wards at Dundee Royal Infirmary. However the need for isolation was gradually recognised with the erection of wooden pavilions on the outskirts of Lochee and also on the site of the present King’s Cross Hospital for the reception of smallpox and typhus patients between 1867 and 1873. These temporary structures were demolished with the building of King’s Cross Hospital. Initially there were only two wards, but by 1913 the hospital had been extended to seven wards plus a variety of ancillary buildings.

With the advent of the National Health Service in 1948, the administration of King's Cross Hospital passed from the Local Authority to the newly formed Eastern Regional Hospital Board. The Regional Board decided to centralise the management of infectious disease in King’s Cross Hospital and to close the former fever hospitals in Forfar, Arbroath. King’s Cross thus became a Regional Hospital for Tayside, admitting patients from Dundee, Angus, Perth, Perthshire, Kinross and North Fife.

While many bacterial infectious diseases were controlled over the years with the introduction of immunisation and antibiotics, outbreaks of viral illnesses, such as influenza, hepatitis, meningitis and AIDS, as well as diarrhoeal illnesses, such as gastro-enteritis and salmonella, illustrate the changing pattern of infectious diseases.

A new Cubicle Isolation Unit (Ward 9), based on a Swedish prototype, was opened on 5th March 1964. In 1979 King’s Cross Hospital West, the original smallpox hospital was closed and in 1982 Wards 3,4 and 5 were upgraded to accommodate patients with respiratory disease, and geriatric patients. The construction of a new Out-Patient Department, as well as a Pulmonary Function Laboratory and an extension of the X-ray Department began in 1988.

(See also Dr. William Maxwell Jamieson’s Collection, Ref. MS111, for further records relating to King’s Cross Hospital. Dr. Jamieson (1914 - 1994) was Senior R. M. O. at King's Cross Hospital from 1939 to 1979. He was promoted to Physician Superintendent in 1948 and also headed the University of Dundee's Department of Communicable (Infectious) Diseases.)

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