In the UK, university hospitals are NHS Boards and Trusts which have major interests in research and teaching. Almost one quarter of England’s acute Trusts are members of the AUKUH (the Association of UK University Hospitals) as well as one of Northern Ireland’s 6 trusts and two of Wales’ local health boards.
University hospitals take a major involvement in the development and research of treatments and also receive significant external funding. They have a large academic presence within their wards and they also commit to both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching of those who are pursuing a degree in related health and medicine disciplines. With close links to educational institutions and universities, some of the university staff will act as non-executive board directors for the hospital.
How Do University Hospitals Help Clinical Expertise?
University hospitals deliver specialised services that map onto clinical expertise and academic interests and can therefore do more to help their patients while providing leadership within the NHS since they have greater knowledge, skills and capacity in specific areas. With the responsibility and ability to apply and create scientific breakthroughs, university hospitals have a key role to play in health research and also lead the way in educating NHS staff at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Unusual and serious cases are more likely to be referred to a university hospital since they have the ability to provide the expertise and specialist equipment necessary to supply the highest possible care standards to patients suffering from complex or rare conditions.
Which Are The Best University Hospitals In The UK?
Although the UK’s university hospitals offer cutting edge treatment and facilities for patients, there are several which really stand out from the crowd due to the excellent level of training and service that they provide. Here are some of the best.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This trust is one of the best in the UK. Once known as Addenbrooke’s NHS Trust, it was given its new name in 2004 and supplies healthcare facilities for patients around the Cambridge area. Some of the specialist services include treatments for rare forms of cancers, neurological intensive care and transplant services to a wider area within the south east of England. Addenbrooke’s Hospital is the largest hospital in this trust, with the others being the Saffron Walden Community Hospital and the Rosie Hospital. It is part of the Shelford Group and is a research campus with international renown which has expanded massively over the last two decades. This hospital carries out enormous amounts of research into a variety of health conditions, with more than 1000 studies under way at any one time.
University Hospitals Birmingham
Providing adult district general hospital services to the South Birmingham area and more specialised treatments across the entire West Midlands, this hospital trust operates the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is home to one of the Genomics Medicines Centres which are trusted with creating precision drugs based on gene therapy. As one of the largest providers of specialist services in England, this trust has a very busy accident and emergency department and is a regional centre for the treatment of burns and trauma patients. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has the biggest critical care unit in Europe with over 100 beds.
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This trust is based in London and comprises several teaching hospitals including the University College Hospital, the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre and the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine among others. This large trust treats more than 500,000 outpatients every year and admits more than 100,000 patients yearly. UCLH also runs major research into treatments and conditions, with training offered to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in partnership with 4 London medical schools. The Trust’s University College Hospital runs a large critical care unit and provides urology and thoracic surgery specialisms while the UCH Macmillan Cancer centre specialises in oncology treatments.
There is also the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Dental hospital as well as the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, all four of which have very clear specialisms. The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine specialises in alternative medicine treatments and has its own education department for those who are registered health professionals within the complementary medicine sector.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This well renowned teaching hospital trust is composed of four large hospitals, the Churchill Hospital, the Horton General, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the John Radcliffe Hospital as well as community hospitals in smaller communities around Oxford and the wider Oxfordshire area. As home to a Genomics Medicines Centre, this university hospital trust has an instrumental role in creating precision drugs to treat a range of conditions, and is also one of the largest providers of specialised services in England.