On 18 August 1859, Sir George Gray, governor of the Cape, laid the cornerstone of the New Somerset Hospital in Green Point, Cape Town. The hospital was established in 1818, after Dr S. Bailey saw the need for a public hospital in Cape Town. Dr. Bailey used his own funds to build the hospital. In 1855, the Somerset Hospital was thought to be severely damaged and the construction of the New Somerset Hospital began in 1859.
In May 2009, the Department of Health held celebrations to mark 150 years of providing medical care to residents of Cape Town. In March 2010, the provincial government of the Western Cape proposed moving Somerset Hospital from Green Point to the northern part of the city where it will be located closer to the densely populated West Coast region of Cape Town.