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The Royal Free Hospital is a large teaching hospital in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. It is an NHS hospital trust and is part of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust. It is located in Hampsteadmarker, just northwest of central London. The nearest Tube stop is Belsize Parkmarker, on the Northern Line. It is one of only four acute hospitals in London, and the only teaching hospital, to be rated "excellent" for both quality of care and use of resources by the Healthcare Commission. The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust is a member of the UCL Partners academic health science centre.


The Royal Free Hospital was founded in Gray's Inn Roadmarker, Holbornmarker by the surgeon William Marsden (1796–1867) in 1828 to provide - as the name indicates - free care to those of little means. The royal charter was granted by Queen Victoria in 1837 after a cholera epidemic in which the hospital had extended care to many victims.

The London School of Medicine for Womenmarker, since August 1998 a part of the UCL Medical Schoolmarker, was the first to train female doctors in the UKmarker.

The hospital is located on Pond Street, Hampsteadmarker, where it moved in the 1970s. It also houses part of the UCL Medical Schoolmarker and its associated research facilities. Significant advances in the fields of liver medicine (hepatology) and transplantation; renal disease and dialysis; haematology and haemophilia have been made at the Royal Free and the trust now treats all patients needing dialysis in north and central London. The Professorial department of liver medicine is recognized as one of the leading research units of its type in the world. It was founded by the late Prof. Dame Sheila Sherlock, DBE. Continuing its pioneering work in transplantation is Professor Peter Butler, who is hoping to do the first full face transplant in the West in 2009.

The Royal Free Hospital was the first in the UK to appoint a consultant in HIV medicine back in 1989. Dr Margaret Johnson, a specialist in thoracic medicine, has built the Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine, which is at the forefront of treatment of HIV and AIDS. The out-patients' centre was opened in 1992 by Sir Ian McKellen and is named after actor Ian Charleson. Its garden, where patients can relax, was opened by Sir Elton John.

The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospitalmarker, located in King's Crossmarker, London, is part of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS trust. It houses three inpatient wards (including a paediatric ward), outpatient clinics, operating theatres, a day surgery unit, and a pharmacy.

Royal Free disease

In 1955 an apparent outbreak of an infectious illness categorised with a fever and subsequent persisting fatigue affected 292 members of staff and forced the hospital's closure between 25 July and 5 October. Although since debated whether the episode was of an infectious cause, or just an example of mass hysteria, this was a notable case in the UK and eventually coined the term myalgic encephalomyelitis.


  1. Healthcare Commission - Annual Health Check rating for 2007/2008 - Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust

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