Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) is a general hospital in the town of Doncaster which has approximate 800 bed spaces, and is managed by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Some of the facilities provided by DRI are a 24-hour Emergency Department (ED), as well as a trauma unit for people injured in serious road traffic incidents.
As well as offering the full range of hospital care to all patients, the Doncaster Royal Infirmary also provides some specialist services including vascular surgery, of which it is one of the top NHS facilities for providing that type of care. DRI also has a variety of inpatient, day case and outpatient facilities.
Doncaster Royal Infirmary is a relatively large hospital and primary point of medical care for many people in the area. Having started life as the Doncaster Dispensary on a site on French Gate (now Greyfriars Road) in 1792, the original hospital building for the town was erected at a cost of just over £600. By the mid-Victorian era, the hospital had changed its name to become Doncaster General Infirmary and Dispensary, with just 23 beds and finally gaining the royal seal of approval, and its current name, in 1906.
The hospital joined the nascent National Health Service in 1948. With the formation of the Doncaster Area Health Authority in 1974, Doncaster Royal Infirmary acted as a hub for a series of medical facilities in the area, also encompassing Loversall Hospital, Tickhill Road Hospital, St Catherine’s Hospital and Western Hospital.
The development of the East Ward Block in 1968 added space for a further 390 beds, and all but one of the hutted wards were demolished in 1969, having originally been added to the site during the Second World War as a temporary solution to cope with increases in patient numbers. A specialist Women’s Hospital was added in 1969, and the Children’s Hospital in 1989, providing a range of healthcare facilities for a much broader spectrum of the local population.
In the run up to the 2019 General Election, both the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary came to Doncaster and said that there was a strong case for a new hospital in Doncaster to replace the DRI. Forty new facilities were pledged by the Conservative government, and as parts of Doncaster Royal Infirmary date back to the 1930s, it has a backlog of urgent repairs.
However, as it stands, the hospital still has yet to receive confirmation that it will be replaced, or that services will be managed by other facilities, so the DRI will continue in its current state, providing effective healthcare to the people of Doncaster and surrounding areas.