Before 1982, the Islands had a small, basic hospital service close to the site of the current hospital. In 1984, the military took over the running of the hospital service. Later in 1984, the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital was almost totally destroyed by a devastating fire. It was rebuilt, and re-opened in 1987.

The hospital remained jointly civilian and military-run until 2000 but is now fully civilianised, although the MOD continue to contribute a significant proportion of the costs of running the service. All primary, secondary and community care services for the Islands are run from the hospital.

The Social Services department is of much more recent date. Originally, there was a 'welfare' service provided by a team of unqualified staff. The first qualified social worker arrived in around 1999. Initially based in the hospital, the team moved to the Welcome Centre at the east end of Stanley in 2002.