Military Life Resources Base Guides

The complete guide to Navy Medical Center Portsmouth

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portsmouth medical center
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kris R. Lindstrom/Released

The Navy Medical Center in Portsmouth Virginia is home to a large medical unit that serves the surrounding military population. NMCP, as it’s often abbreviated, is the oldest continuously operating military hospital. In fact, it’s been delivering quality healthcare to service members and families since 1830. In addition, it’s a research and training center, and helps to prepare America’s next generation of medical professionals. NMCP is home to over 5,000 Sailors who provide healthcare services. Located in Hampton Roads, Portsmouth Naval Hospital is nestled in a vibrant military community. Nearby Norfolk is the largest naval base in the world. On average, there are over 185 ships, nearly 1,300 aircraft, and over 115,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the region.  


Portsmouth is one of the oldest settled areas in America, so this region is rich with history. In addition to the modern buildings you’ll find in Hampton Roads, there are plenty of historic ones too. The area has a lot of military presence, thanks to the several nearby installations. Crime is relatively low and the area is generally considered a great place to live. That might be because of the temperate Portsmouth weather. Winter temps rarely dip below 30F and summers are in the 80s. 

Navy Medical Center Portsmouth Location

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is located in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the southeastern corner of the state. 

The area is collectively known as Hampton Roads. Hampton Roads includes Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Collectively, the area has a population of over 1.5 million people. Occasionally, this area is called “Tidewater.” Both names refer to the same location. 

Navy Medical Center Portsmouth ship
(US Navy Photo by Civilian Public Affairs Office Max Lonzanida)


Traveling from the north? Follow I-64 E from Hampton. Then take exit 284A to I-264 W towards Norfolk. Next, follow I-264 W for 6 miles and take exit 7 toward Effingham St/Naval Hospital (exit is at the end of the tunnel). Finally, follow Effingham St. North to front gate of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

Heading in from the west? Take US-58 E from Suffolk. Then take I-264 E to Portsmouth and follow for 13 miles. Next, use exit 7B toward Effingham St. Finally, follow Effingham St. to the front gate of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. 

Driving from the south? Follow VA-168 N and I-464 N from North Carolina. Next, take exit 6A to I-264 W. Follow I-264 W for 1 mile and take exit 7 toward Effingham St/Naval Hospital (exit is at the end of the tunnel) Finally, follow Effingham St. North to front gate of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. 


The nearest major airport is Norfolk International Airport. It’s about seven miles away. You could also use the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. That’s about 25 miles away.

Taxi services are available to the installation. 

Currently, there’s no on-base transportation. 

Gates and Hours

Visitors to Navy Medical Center Portsmouth can use either of the installation’s two 24-hour gates.

Main Gate – Effingham Street is located on the south side of the base.

Gate Two is located at the intersection of Spratley and Barton. It’s on the west side of the base. 

Contacts at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth

Child Care Options at Portsmouth (757) 484-1965

Day of Surgery Unit (757) 953-3689

Dental (757) 953-2711

Dining Services (757) 953-1600

DoD Safe Helpline – Sexual Assault (877) 995-5247

Exchange (757) 397-5858

Family Practice (800) 645-4584

Fire Emergency (757) 953-5777

Fisher House (757) 953-6889

General Surgery 866-645-4584

Hospital Directory (757) 953-5008 

Housing Referral Office (757) 445-2832

Liberty Military Housing (757) 673-0082

Library (757) 953-5383

Main Appointment Line (866) 645-4584

Medical Emergency (800) 552-6337

Military Personnel Management (757) 953-3560

Navy Lodges (800) NAVY-INN

NMCI Helpdesk (866) 843-6624

Ophthalmology Clinic (757) 953-2674

Patient Administration Department (757) 953-7754

Pharmacy (757) 953-0258

Portsmouth Child Development Center (757) 953-7050

Quarterdeck (757) 953-5008

School Liaison Officer (757) 436-3638

Security Services (757) 953-5225

Simulation Center (757) 953-4642

Sleep Medicine Clinic/Lab (757) 953-7781

lounge at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth
(Feb. 28, 2018) – Chris Brogan, left, a child life specialist at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), speaks at the reopening of the newly renovated parent’s lounge in the Pediatrics Ward. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kris R. Lindstrom)

Mission and Units

NMCP’s mission is to be the first and the finest. This means it aims to be the first choice of patients and staff, the first to support the warfighter and the country. Naval Medical Center Portsmouth achieves this mission by offering the finest healthcare, education, and research. 

Major units near NMCP include the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two, the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two, the Naval Beach Group Two, and the Naval Special Warfare Group Two.

NMCP History

A Hospital Fund started in 1798 to provide medical treatment for service members. By 1821 enough money was available to begin construction and the hospital opened its doors in 1830. In fact, workers used over 500,000 bricks from an existing healthcare treatment facility at Fort Nelson in Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s foundation and walls. 

The hospital has provided care throughout all American conflicts, including the Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Spanish-American War. 

By 1898, the Navy’s Hospital Corps was established and its first graduation took place in 1902. Then, in 1908, Congress created the Navy Nurse Corps. This allowed women to join the Navy Nurse Corps. However, they held no rank. Among the first class of graduates was Lenah Higbee. Later, Higbee went on to become the Chief Nurse at Portsmouth. Later, she was the second Superintendent of Nurses for the Navy. Finally, in 1964, male nurses were permitted to join the Navy Nurse Corps. 

Things to Do Around Navy Medical Center Portsmouth        


There are three Navy lodges within driving distance. Lodges are located at Dam Neck Annex, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, and Norfolk Naval Base. Hotels are plentiful in the area as well. Call the Navy Inn for reservations at a lodge. 

Of course, if you are visiting a long-term patient or traveling to NMCP for treatment, you might want to stay somewhere more homey. You might explore your lodging options with Fisher House. Fisher House offers home-like environments at and near military medical treatment facilities. That’s to say nothing of the fact that the foundation operates by donation only. This little-known resource helps make medical care experiences better for both service members and families.

Norfolk Waterside Marriott (757) 627-4200

Renaissance Portsmouth Norfolk Waterfront Hotel (757) 673-3000

Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown (757) 842-6216

Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel (757) 622-6664

Food Scene

The region is rich with culinary options, thanks in part to the closeness to the coast! Be sure to chow down on all the fresh seafood you can handle. There’s also a great selection of sushi restaurants. Of course you’ll also want to try Rappanhannock oysters and Brunswick stew, too. If you’re looking for heartier fare, fried chicken and black eyed peas is a classic Virginia combo. 

Navy Medical Center Portsmouth birthday
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth staff finish the last leg of the mile-and-a-half run to commemorate the 115th birthday of the Hospital Corps in front of Historic Building One. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven J. Weber/Released)


The robust military presence in the Hampton Roads area means you’ll never run out of things to do. That’s to say nothing of the great options around the area, too. Be sure to check out Norfolk’s Harborfest. This June festival features a Parade of Sail and historic replicas of tall ships.  In September, check out the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach. In addition to 5- and 8km races, there’s a parade, and the North American Sandsculpting Championship. 

Navy Medical Center Portsmouth Housing 

First things first, call the Naval Housing Referral Office as soon as you have orders. 

Liberty Military Housing owns and manages Naval Medical Center Portsmouth housing. Housing includes two neighborhoods with three to five bedroom homes. Homes are issued based on rank and family size. 

Of course, single Sailors and Marines should call the Military Personnel Management Department for information on housing options. 

Other options are available. You can also choose to live off the installation. There are several great neighborhoods in the surrounding area. Speak with the Housing Office for more information. 

Schools Near Navy Medical Center Portsmouth

Surprisingly, there are no DoDEA schools located near NMCP. However, if you and your family live on base, your mil-kid will attend school in the Virginia Beach school district. Off base school options will depend on where you live. For specifics, speak with the School Liaison Officer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Portsmouth Naval Hospital a Level 1 trauma center?

Unfortunately, NMCP is not a Level 1 trauma center. The only Level 1 center in the region is at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 

What is the oldest naval hospital?

These days, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is considered the oldest naval hospital. 

What is the biggest naval hospital?

Currently, the biggest naval hospital is Naval Medical Center San Diego. 

Before BRAC changed so much, lots of DoD installations had complete medical centers embedded on the footprint. This made it easy for service members to seek care. Here are some lesser known facts about medical centers.

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