Western General Hospital
NHS Lothian
Clock Tower at the Western General Hospital
Western General Hospital is located in the City of Edinburgh council area
Western General Hospital
Shown in Edinburgh
LocationEdinburgh, Scotland
Coordinates55°57′44″N 3°14′06″W / 55.962142°N 3.234947°W / 55.962142; -3.234947
Care systemNHS Scotland
TypeGeneral Hospital
Affiliated universityUniversity of Edinburgh Medical School
Emergency departmentMinor Injuries Unit only
WebsiteWestern General Hospital

The Western General Hospital (often abbreviated to simply ‘The Western General’) is a health facility at Craigleith, Edinburgh, Scotland. It is managed by NHS Lothian.[1][2]


The hospital was designed by Peddie and Kinnear and opened as the St. Cuthberts and Canongate Poorhouse in 1868, principally as a workhouse but also having some hospital functions.[3] It was later renamed Craigleith Poorhouse.[4][5] In 1915, during the First World War, the building was requisitioned by the War Office to create the 2nd Scottish General Hospital, a facility for the Royal Army Medical Corps to treat military casualties.[6] After returning to poorhouse use in 1920 it was converted fully to hospital use in 1927. A nurses' home was added in 1935 and a pathology block was completed in 1939.[5] It joined the National Health Service in 1948 and a new library was completed in 1979.[5]

The first Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre opened on the Western General Hospital site in 1996.[7]

In June 2012 the Medicine for the Elderly services were transferred from the Royal Victoria Hospital to a new purpose-built facility known as the Royal Victoria Building at the Western General Hospital.[8]

A facility to treat young people with cancer aged 16 to 24 was opened in the Western General Hospital in December 2013.[9]


Buildings include:[10]


The hospital has over 700 beds including day beds.[11] Although the Western no longer has an Accident and Emergency department, a nurse-led minor injuries unit has been operating on the site since 1994.[12]

The hospital served as a base for the neurology and neurosurgery centre for south east Scotland ("Department of Clinical Neurosciences") [13] until the department moved to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France in 2020.[14]

There is a major national cancer research and treatment centre at the hospital which was refurbished in 2007.[15]


  1. ^ "Western General Hospital". www.nhslothian.scot. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  2. ^ "EH4 2XU - Check My Postcode". checkmypostcode.uk. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  3. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by Gifford, McWilliam and Walker
  4. ^ "Western General Hospital History". NHS Lothian. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Western General Hospital". Historic Hospitals. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Second Scottish General Hospital Craigleith". Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Maggie's Edinburgh". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Royal Victoria Building". NHS Lothian. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Duchess opens £1.35m cancer centre in Edinburgh". BBC News. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  10. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford, McWilliam and Walker
  11. ^ "Western General Hospital (WGH)". NHS Lothian. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Minor injuries clinic is major asset to Capital". The Scotsman. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Celebrating the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the Western General Hospital". University of Edinburgh. 1 December 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  14. ^ "NHS Lothian celebrates the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of neuroscience in Edinburgh and the Lothians". NHS Lothian. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Chemotherapy and trials suite". Aitken Turnbull. Retrieved 13 June 2014.