This week saw Westminster alumni and guests gather at Imperial College London to celebrate 300 years since Westminster Hospital was founded.
The tercentenary event was devised by a Westminster alumni working party that included Professor Paul Aichroth and Ms Margaret Pollock, and featured a keynote lecture by Dame Clare Marx, Chair of the General Medical Council and former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Over 240 guests came together to mark three centuries since the first patient was admitted to Westminster Hospital in 1719. They were joined in honouring a shared history by Imperial President, Professor Alice Gast; Chair of Council Sir Philip Dilley; Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Jonathan Weber; and Head of Imperial College School of Medicine, Mr Martin Lupton.
Celebrating a shared history
Formally founded in 1834, Westminster Medical School merged with the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in 1984, before becoming part of the formation of Imperial College School of Medicine in 1997.
Professor Weber said: “This is an historic 300th anniversary of the Westminster Hospital. The earliest hospitals in London were the 12th century monastic foundations at St Bartholomew’s and St Thomas’. The Westminster was the first hospital in London to be established since the Reformation and the first ever to be established as a charitable foundation. It has been training doctors since at least 1734, and we want our Imperial College School of Medicine to both celebrate and continue to remember our distinguished origins.”
Martin Lupton added: “It is vital that we look to our history to help us understand where we need to go in the future. Today our students still feel viscerally connected to the schools and alumni that came together to form our School of Medicine.”
Leadership in medicine and surgery
Addressing assembled alumni and guests, Dame Clare Marx said: “It’s a real pleasure to be here this afternoon as we mark 300 years of the Westminster Hospital. The knowledge and skills I developed there, and the friendships and support of those with whom I shared those very happy years transformed my life and acted as a platform from which I could spring into my future career.”
Talking about the importance of investing more attention, time and resource in developing the clinical leaders of today and tomorrow, Dame Clare said: “Both as a doctor and an associate medical director, I have experienced first hand the fundamental difference that well-led clinical environments make to the quality of care.
“Where clinicians are supported to become and to remain good doctors, where unprofessional behaviours are challenged and changed, and where doctors are encouraged to be leaders, patient safety is better.”
A Westminster reunion
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