Maria Middelares General Hospital looks back on its centuries-long tradition in healthcare that has led to today’s innovative hospital where the patient’s experience comes first.

Eight centuries of health care

As early as the 13th century, the Cistercian nuns of Ghent took care of the sick. First in the Hospital of Our Dear Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwhospitaal) next to St Michael's Church, later just outside the Ghent city gates in the Bijloke Hospital.

When the sisters purchased a castle estate on the Kortrijksesteenweg in 1934, it was given the name ‘Maria Middelares’. The castle was converted into a hospital, and by 1939 a left and right wing had been added.

In 1957, a separate pavilion with a maternity unit and a gynaecology department were built. During his career, the inspirational Dr Daels helped more than 50,000 children come into the world. At that time, no less than 1 in 50 Flemish people were born in Maria Middelares General Hospital.

St Joseph’s Clinic in Ghent-Bruges

The campus expanded considerably in 1982 with a building for general surgery. With the new building, the hospital received new impetus and an extremely rapid technological development commenced.

On 1 January 1999, Maria Middelares General Hospital merged with St Joseph’s in Ghent-Bruges, a clinic which the Sisters of the H. Vincentius a Paulo from Waarschoot founded together with Dr. Odilon Van der Linden. This created a modern hospital with two campuses.

Birth of a new hospital

In 2000, the Flemish government recommended centralising all acute care on one campus. This recommendation gave rise to a new strategic care plan, the most important achievements of which are:

  • Witje Wiebel Nursery and Maternity Unit

During the first phase of this plan, the 'Witje Wiebel nursery' and the existing maternity building, which were located behind the current hospital, were moved to the front of the site (along Kortrijksesteenweg) to make way for the site where the new complex was erected in the next four years.

The maternity clinic of Maria Middelares General Hospital was housed in a separate pavilion with a Maternity Unit and a Gynaecology Department. Today, this building functions as a modern skills laboratory: a training and education centre for employees. The authentic infrastructure ensures that training can be targeted.

The old maternity clinic
Octopus Education and Training Centre
  • New building for Maria Middelares General Hospital
    Our new building was opened in 2015 (phase 2 of the global master plan for Maria Middelares General Hospital, as approved by the Municipal Executive of the city of Ghent). On 10 April, Maria Middelares General Hospital relocated 290 patients to the brand new building in one day through an above-ground, temporary, heated and illuminated 241-metre long tunnel. Watch ZorgAndersTv’s report here.
A room in Maria Middelares General Hospital – 1960
Our new building – 2015 (© LLOX architects)
  • Renovation of Maria Middelares Medical Centre
    In the meantime, we continue to invest in the Medical Centre in Ghent-Bruges so that we can continue to offer ‘good care next door’ there as well. Since 2016, the outpatient clinic, radiology and dialysis departments have provided excellent local care.
Maria Middelares Medical Centre
Maria Middelares Medical Centre

Book presentation 'From Care for the Sick to Health Care'

The book 'From Care for the Sick to Health Care' takes you through an illustrated trip through time, starting around the year 1200, when the Ghent family turned their residences into a hospital to care for the sick, those in need and travelers. No one would have imagined that that simple care for the sick would evolve over the next eight hundred years into professional, highly technological medical health care, which is what the Maria Middelares General Hospital currently provides to the community. Over this long trajectory over time, a Ghent congregation of Cistercian sisters played a vital role that should not be underestimated.

‘With this book, we pay tribute to the lay and religious people who have contributed to compassionate care, in and around Ghent, always keeping the focus on the patient. It is this Christian tradition that forms the benchmark for our ethical treatment and that supports us in our striving towards value-driving health care. Rarely has the future been so well prepared by the past.’

Prof. Pascal Verdonck (Chairman) Maria Middelares General Hospital

Patient-centered care over the years

The book title emphasises the evolution over the years from care for the sick to health care. The patient is the focal point in the ecosystem, surrounded by a transmural and multidisciplinary treatment team. The transition from new technologies to new care strategies is becoming ever shorter. The options for virtual follow-up increases: thanks to a 'cockpit' in the hospital, the patient know that he/she is in safe hands, 24/7. The future-oriented vision explains why Maria Middelares General Hospital chose to have a technological intervention centre as part of its new building in 2015, rather than opting for a 'classic bed hospital'.

Innovation, digitalisation, and the patient experience are inseparable from the care provided at Maria Middelares General Hospital. This greatly honours the past and the values that the founding congregations have gifted us.

Practical information about the book

  • Hardcover
  • 280 x 240 mm
  • 200 pp. and approx. 300 illustrations
  • Snoeck Publishers - ISBN: 978-94-6161-568-8
  • €32.00
  • Available at the shop in the hospital and in finer bookstores