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 therapies which are fully integrated in to the NHS and with 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.
The RLHIM has developed unique integrated clinical services in collaboration with clinical partners from other parts of University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), including: an integrated pain service in collaboration with the Eastman Dental Hospital and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, providing acupuncture, hypnotherapy, homeopathy, and autogenic training to complement conventional treatments; an integrated antenatal service in collaboration with the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital; the complementary cancer service will be in the new UCLH Cancer Centre, due to open in 2012. We also offer services for allergy and for chronic fatigue; cost effective treatment options for ‘effectiveness gap’ conditions: common conditions difficult to treat by conventional methods, including group acupuncture clinics for osteoarthritis, back pain and migraine
The hospital and its staff have focused on integrated medicine for over 10 years, in parallel with an enormous evolution in the range and integration of its services. The RLHIM’s services are integrated in several senses:
- Referrals are through the usual NHS system, investigation and treatment on the usual NHS terms and conditions.
- All doctors and other health professionals are conventionally trained, fully qualified and registered, and subject to the Clinical Governance of UCLH.
- We offer integrated clinical services in collaboration with appropriate partners and cost-effective services for ‘effectiveness gap’ conditions.
- The medicines we use are quality-assessed by an expert team of pharmacists.
- Information, education and research are important to integration and the RHLIM provides two unique information services: NICE’s NHS Evidence – complementary and alternative medicine (www.library.nhs.uk/cam) and the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Library and Information Service, CAMLIS, (www.cam.nhs.uk).
- The hospital is a training centre for NHS doctors and other health care professionals wishing to practice integrated medicine, providing the UK’s only course on integrating complementary medicine into daily practice for GPs.
Integrated or integrative medicine is an international movement. The US Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine comprises 44 academic medical centres, including Stanford, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Mayo Clinic. It aims ‘to help transform medicine and healthcare through rigorous scientific studies, new models of clinical care, and innovative educational programs that integrate biomedicine, the complexity of human beings, the intrinsic nature of healing and the rich diversity of therapeutic systems’. Several important European centres including Germany’s largest academic medical centre, the Charité University Medical Center Berlin and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm have centres for integrative medicine. The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine is a leading institution in this growing, worldwide movement.