The hospital will be now known as the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine – the RLHIM. The change was recommended by senior staff at the hospital and approved by the UCLH Board of Directors.
Dr Peter Fisher, RLHIM clinical director, said the name change was a milestone in the history of complementary medicine in the NHS.
He added: “Interest in our services is growing all the time and our name change reflects the integration of complementary and conventional disciplines. Patients can be treated in absolute safety in an NHS hospital subject to the clinical governance regime of UCLH and where very experienced physicians are governed by the General Medical Council, and other health professionals by their respective statutory bodies.”
Integrated medicine brings together conventional medicine with safe and effective, high quality complementary medicine to achieve the best possible results for patients. It emphasises the importance of the patient-doctor relationship and enables patients to make choices about their healthcare and lifestyle.
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.
Dr Fisher added: “We are totally patient-focused and we have among the highest positive patient feedback scores in the NHS and high success rates in treating a wide range of illnesses. This change of name is vital so that patients and their doctors alike understand the range and breadth of services we now provide.
The RLHIM is the largest public sector centre for integrated medicine in Europe. It introduced acupuncture, herbal medicine and other medical disciplines into the NHS. It is the training centre and arbiter of quality for medical professionals who wish to practice integrated medicine in the NHS.
All clinical staff at the RLHIM are legally-registered health professionals and all department heads are conventionally-trained doctors or other senior health professionals with additional training in various forms of complementary medicine. Many have additional experience and qualifications in disciplines as varied as general practice, rheumatology and psychiatry and treatment of allergy.
The RLHIM works very closely with clinical partners across UCLH. It has, for example, developed an integrated pain service in collaboration with the Eastman Dental Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. This service provides acupuncture, hypnotherapy, homeopathy, and autogenic training to complement conventional treatments.
One patient who has benefited from the integrated medicine provided at the hospital is Katherine Small.
After previously suffering a series of miscarriages, Katherine felt the joy of being pregnant again was completely overshadowed by mounting anxiety.
She said: “I felt tearful and exhausted and I was starting to suffer from panic attacks and sleeplessness.”
Mrs Small was referred by her GP to the Autogenic Training clinic at the RLHIM and within just a few weeks her symptoms were back under control.
She said: “I was amazed at how quickly it worked. It helped me literally switch “off” my anxiety – and the physical symptoms receded immediately. AT enabled me to regain the trust that my body knew how to be healthy and to bond with my unborn baby”.
Autogenic Training (AT) is a structured, research-based meditative practice: a sequence of simple mental exercises which bring about profound mental and physical relaxation. The service is lead by Dr Ann Bowden, a physician with a strong interest in complementary medicine.