Arrival of the NHS
|The Dreadnought Hospital building today. © NMM|
Transfer to the National Health Service in 1948 was not a smooth process. The new NHS structure comprised regional groups of hospitals, so the Government at first wanted the various properties of the Seamen's Hospital Society to be split up.
However, the special nature of the services provided by the Society were finally recognized with the creation of the ‘Seamen’s Hospital Group’ within the new NHS.
Decline and closure of the Dreadnought
Use by seamen of the ‘Dreadnought’ in Greenwich fell as the amount of shipping on the Thames dramatically declined. But the infirmary building continued to be used through to 1986, when it finally closed.
However, special services for seamen and their families continue to be provided by the ‘Dreadnought Unit’, now based within St Thomas’s Hospital in Lambeth, still close to the River Thames.