The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is Europe’s largest public sector centre for integrated medicine.
The hospital offers a range of clinical services and complementary therapies which are fully integrated in to the NHS alongside conventional medicine.
All therapies are provided by registered health professionals who have additional training in complementary medicine.
With a few exceptions clinics at RLHIM focus on conditions, or patients, rather than specific therapies. Each clinic offering a range of therapies adapted to the individual needs of the patient. The conditions treated are often complex chronic conditions.
All the doctors at the RLHIM are qualified in conventional medicine and therefore they are able to prescribe and advise on conventional as well as complementary treatment.
Integrated medicine brings together conventional medicine with safe and effective complimentary medicine. It emphasises the importance of the doctor patient relationship and the use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve healing and optimal health. At RLHIM patients are active participants in their health care.
Until September 2010, when its name was changed to reflect the wider variety of services offered, the hospital was known as the Royal London Homœopathic Hospital.
Education, research and information
In addition to its clinical services, the RLHIM has a range of academic, research and high-quality information services including the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Library and Information Service (CAMLIS), which is open to the public. Our education and training programme includes the UK’s only course for GPs on integrating complementary medicine into daily practice. The research department has conducted randomised controlled trials of acupuncture, herbal medicine and homeopathy, as well as Cochrane Reviews, epidemiological and ethical work.
The London Homœopathic Hospital was founded in October 1849. From 1889 until the 1980s it was a general hospital, with operating theatres, surgical wards and a range of specialities treating a wide range of conditions. It became ‘Royal’ by consent of King George VI in 1947 who had been involved with the hospital since the 1920s.
When the National Health Service was established in 1948, the RLHH, along with the four other UK homœopathic hospitals, became part of the NHS. During the 1980s and into the early 1990s the theatres, surgical beds and wards were closed with the last remaining ward having closed by 1998.
But during this period, the RLHIM had been introducing a range of complementary medicine services, including the NHS’s first complementary cancer, acupuncture and herbal medicine services, among others.
The RLHIM now operates as an outpatients’ clinic, although, as one of seven specialist hospitals within the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, it works closely with the other hospitals and has access to modern conventional techniques as well as inpatient services when required. Throughout its history, the RLHIM has introduced many integrated medicine innovations into the NHS, including:
- 1950’s 1st NHS Complementary Cancer Service
- 1977 1st NHS Acupuncture Service
- 1995 1st NHS Musculoskeletal medicine service
- 2005 1st NHS High volume acupuncture service (see Group Acupuncture)
- 2005 1st UK course on Integrating CM for doctors
- 2006 1st NHS Integrated antenatal service
- 2007 1st Integrated allergy service
- 2008 1st NHS Western Herbal Medicine clinic
- 2009 1st NHS hospital Medical & Clinical Hypnosis and
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Unit