Bensham General Hospital was originally part of the workhouse. In February 1886 plans had been submitted to the Board of Guardians for a new workhouse, school and hospital on High Teams Farm, to replace the old workhouse in Union Lane which had been built in 1841 but was very overcrowded. The architect in 1886 reported that he had tried to embody most of the leading characteristics of Aston Hospital in his plans and facilities included provision for infirm and chronic cases, imbeciles, sick wards, surgical cases, itch and lock cases, isolation and maternity wards. Accommodation was for 117 men and 111 women at a cost of £9250 for the hospital and £36,500 for the whole institution. The workhouse opened in June 1890, becoming known in the early 20th century as High Teams Institution.
A survey in 1931 showed that hospital accommodation in Gateshead was totally inadequate and recommended that the workhouse hospital should be taken over and adapted as a general hospital. In 1936, however, a new survey abandoned this plan on the grounds of cost and situation and recommended a new 200-250 bed hospital with a maternity unit near the Isolation Hospital. Work began in June 1939 but was interrupted by the war. This new hospital, the Queen Elizabeth (see HO.QE) was in use from 1943, but was not officially opened until March 1948.
In the meantime, the original plan was returned to and in June 1941 the hospital wards of the High Teams Institution were appropriated to become Bensham General Hospital. It, like other Gateshead hospitals, fell under the control of the Gateshead & District Hospital Management Committee (see HA.GA) from July 1948.