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Pioneer Gillies & Queen Mary's featured in Britain's Great War

17 February 2014
The rich history of Queen Mary's hospital in Sidcup was marked on national TV this evening during the final part of BBC One's Britain's Great War, presented by Jeremy Paxman.

At the conclusion of the First World War and in the years that followed, Queen's Hospital (which was to become Queen Mary's) was the world leader in terms of plastic surgery. Between 1917 and 1925 staff at the hospital treated over 5,000 soldiers injured in the war. They were led by Harold Gillies, a New Zealander who found his calling while working with injured soldiers in France during the war.

Dr Andrew Bamji, a former Consultant Rheumatologist and Director of Medical Education at Queen Mary's discovered a huge archive of fascinating case notes from Gillies' work. Andrew became the hospital's archivist and was interviewed on the programme. He showed Paxman some horrific images of facial injuries before and after surgery and told him how Gillies and his team treated them in Sidcup.

You can find out more about the fascinating plastic surgery work carried out at Queen Mary's at Andrew's Gillies archives website.

If you missed Britain's Great War you can catch it on the BBC's iPlayer.

Photo caption: The Plastic Theatre, Queen's Hospital, 1917. Harold Gillies is seated on the right. 

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Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust became the owners of Queen Mary's Hospital on 1 October 2013. Oxleas continues to provide services at the hospital and run the estate for the other NHS organisations providing services there.