Putting sport and exercise medicine on the map 

12/07/2012 00:00 

Sport and exercise medicine should sit alongside UCLH’s other world-leading specialities thanks to the launch of a new institute which will be the health legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sir Robert Naylor speaking at the launch of the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health

Speaking at the launch of the UCLH/UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH) this week, Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said the facility would play a key role in improving the health of the nation.

He added that UCLH should one day be as well known for its provision of sport and exercise medicine as it is for its expertise in neurosciences, cardiac and cancer care and women’s health.

Elite athletes, ‘weekend warriors’ and patients whose condition would benefit from an exercise regime will all be treated under the same roof at the UCLH/UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health when it opens later this year.

A state-of-the-art building in the heart of London will include imaging, an outpatient area and teaching and research facilities.

Sir Robert said: “With the fantastic research strengths we have at UCL and UCLH we were keen to make a contribution to the Olympic legacy from a research and development perspective.

“This is not just about how we can support the development of elite athletes but how we can use that as a vehicle to improve the health of the nation with people taking responsibility for their own health needs.

“The challenge ahead of us is how to elevate our position in sports medicine to be equivalent to some of the great specialities that we provide.”

ISEH is a collaboration between UCLH and UCL, the British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport and private hospital group HCA who will run some clinics from the building.

From l to r Peter Hamlyn, ISEH director of education; Sir Clive Woodward; Prof Fares Haddad and Prof Monty Mythen, director, Joint UCLH/UCL Biomedical Research Unit and scientific advisor to the ISEH

Professor Fares Haddad, director of the institute, said: “Our new facility will be a place where clinical activity, science and research, rehabilitation and diagnostics can all co-locate and work together to deliver great outputs that will affect change nationally and internationally. By doing this we will deliver not just success for our athletes and medals in future Games but health for the nation.”

Sir Clive Woodward, coach of the England rugby union World Cup winning team in 2003, was guest speaker during an evening of lectures at UCL. An advisor to the ISEH, he described the institute as being a ‘big step forward’ in co-ordinating research into sport and exercise medicine and using the outcomes to benefit patients.

The institute is one of three locations in the UK which make up the National Centre for Sport & Exercise – the others are Sheffield and East Midlands.

Delegates Dr Eleanor Tillett, UCLH sport and exercise consultant and Dr Jo Larkin

The National Centre aims to speedily translate research into innovative and improved services and programmes that will help transform the nation’s health and start to reverse the forecasts for premature deaths from unhealthy lifestyles. Research findings and best practice will be shared with the entire NHS so that the whole country benefits - ensuring a real Olympic legacy in the health service.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Hosting the Olympics is a fantastic opportunity for the whole country, including the NHS. But we must make sure there are lasting health benefits.

“That is why on behalf of the Department of Health I am pleased to be contributing £30million of taxpayer support towards the first ever National Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence for England.  

“By bringing together research, education and NHS services across London, Sheffield and East Midlands the centre will make sure the latest research effectively translates into new services to help keep our nation healthy and build expertise in this field.  This will ensure we achieve a real Olympic legacy in the health service.”


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