|Administrative history||In the early modern period, patients suffering from venereal or sexually transmitted infections were sent to Kingsland Out-house or Lock Hospital (which had originally been established as a leper hospital by the City of London) which was run as an 'outhouse' of St Bartholomew's Hospital in Smithfield. The first recorded case of venereal disease treated there was in 1633; by the mid-eighteenth century, sufferers, known as 'foul' patients, were to form the majority of patients at Kingsland. By 1669, there were six wards, at the hospital, whose frontage was on Kingsland Road. Rising costs forced St Bartholomew's Hospital to close the Kingsland Hospital in 1760 (see governors' minutes 23 Oct 1760, SBHB/HA/1/13). 'Foul' patients were transferred to the main hospital, and venereal patients continued to be treated at Bart's thereafter, on the general wards. |
In 1913 the Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases was set up to look into what could be done to reduce venereal disease infections. Their recommendations - the Public Health (Venereal Disease) Regulations of 1916 - required local authorities to provide a free service for the early diagnosis and prompt treatment of venereal diseases. To encourage patients to attend the service had to be strictly confidential and be available on demand, that is no appointments or letters or referral were required.
The Special Treatment Centre at Bart's had its origins in the clinic set up by the Corporation of London in the Shelter in Golden Lane in 1916. In 1930 the clinic had moved into the Out-patients Department of Bart's, temporarily relocated during the Second World War to the Old Bailey. In 1947 there were three clinics held each week and there were 750 new cases seen that year. By 1973 there were nine weekly clinics held seeing 3,840 new cases with 13,325 patients attending in total. Additionally, the Centre was tasked with screening all City of London Police recruits for syphilis (a practice which continued up until the late 1970s/early 1980s).
In 1974 the Special Treatment Centre's name was changed to the Department of Genital Medicine to reflect the change in the type of cases which were being seen. In September 1991 it moved from the Outpatients block to the Horder Wing of the hospital, where it was known as the Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine (and Sexual Health), until 1998, when it became known as Bart's Sexual Health Centre. In 2005 it moved to the Kenton and Lucas Wing of the hospital. It closed in March 2018, with services transferring to local sites in the City and East London, provided by Homerton NHS Trust.