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Royal Free London

About the Royal Free London


The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest trusts, delivering care to more than 1.6 million patients each year in three main hospitals; Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital in addition to a network of clinics provided at other trusts’ hospitals and community sites.

We have been pioneering research and treatments since 1828 and continue to lead improvements in healthcare in the 21st century, from targeted cancer therapies to new surgical procedures. As well as offering an exceptionally wide range of services to patients, we are a campus of University College Medical School and conduct important medical research, much of it of international status. A founding member of the academic health science network UCL Partners, we also train doctors, nurses, midwives and many other clinical and non-clinical professionals.

For many years the Royal Free London has had some of the lowest mortality rates in the UK and currently mortality is 2nd lowest. The RFL is one of the first NHS trusts to require staff to be “bare below the elbows” which has ensured their continuing excellent record in infection control.

Coming to the Royal Free London

We accept patients from the UK via GP and self-referrals and from overseas via government sponsorship or self-referral.

Our referrals team will help patients book consultations and treatments with the patient’s consultant of choice and, where needed, will provide the patient with information about the hospital and consultants to aid their decisions. They will guide the patient step by step through all the administrative steps needed, whether the case be a simple consultation or a complex international admission.

The private patients unit has strong links with all of the consultants and specialists

as well as with every department within the Royal Free London thus ensuring that our private patients enjoy full access to all the specialist services that the hospital has to offer.


International Patients

We understand that travelling to another country for medical care can be a daunting experience. When our patients travel to the Royal Free London Private Patients Unit, we make every effort to ensure that all of our patients’ needs are addressed on every level even before they start their journey.

Our dedicated enquiries and referrals team are able to provide our international patients with a letter of invitation to support international UK entry visa applications for medical care. We can also make accommodation and local transport arrangements on behalf of our private patients.

Alongside organising interpreting services as required, we also maintain a permanent Arabic liaison team to support this patient group.

Out-patient – The Lyndhurst Rooms

Our private patients have quick and easy access to the consultant of their choice for consultations in our dedicated out-patient clinic – The Lyndhurst Rooms.

All the diagnostic facilities of the hospital are available under one roof, from asimple blood test to the most complex diagnostic scans:


The combination of in house diagnostics, high quality interpretation of results and the ability to consult across the whole hospital professional community gives the very best environment for a good quality out-patient outcome.

Should there be a need for patients to be admitted to our private wards for investigation, treatment or surgery, the most appropriate consultant will be contacted. Once the consultant has agreed to take on the patient’s clinical care the admission process will be handled swiftly to enable patients to be admitted at their earliest convenience.

In-patient Stay

The Private Patients Unit is located on the 12th floor of the Royal Free Hospital London across three dedicated private in-patient wards and supporting daycare and hospitality facilities. The wards and staff are equipped to deal with the most complex of cases but always in a warm and supportive environment. We offer a friendly personalised service based on a dedicated team of nurses, dministrative and hospitality staff to help our patients have a safe and pleasant stay.

We assist our consultants on the unit with a highly skilled team of nurses, backed up by the full support of the specialist teams of the hospital, who will look after the patient’s medical needs 24 hours a day to enable them to make as swift a recovery as possible.

Our staff are always available to answer any questions our patients may have, ensuring that they are fully involved in their treatment plan and understand every aspect of their treatment at every step of the way. Our staff are trained to ensure that the patient’s privacy is protected and they are treated with dignity and respect at all times.

From their 12th floor base patients utilise the full medical and surgical facilities of the hospital gaining access to the highest quality specialised teams and facilities across intensive care, interventional radiology, endoscopy and imaging. To a level possible only in a hospital such as the Royal Free, we bring the knowledge and skills of professional experts from across a multitude of specialties, such as therapists, specialist nurses and consultants, to the patient’s bedside to maximise the chance of a quick and full recovery.

Family and friends are welcome to visit. If our patients’ relatives or companions need to stay overnight there are short stay drop down beds within the patients’ rooms and for longer stays we will help make the necessary bookings with one of the many local hotels.

Accommodation and Hotel Services

There are stunning views from all of our suites of the London skyline and the natural beauty of Hampstead Heath.

All our suites are single bed with en suite bathroom and have access to 24 hour Satellite TV and Wi-Fi. Each room has been furnished to the highest standards including en suite facilities with fresh towels and toiletries provided daily and a complimentary newspaper of choice delivered every morning.

Our own fully equipped private kitchen within the unit is run by a previous top Savoy hotel chef supported by highly skilled staff. Together they create dishes to provide a breakfast, lunch and dinner to a 5 star standard. Every individual dietary and cultural requirement including both an approved Halal and Kosher menu is offered.

Going Home

Once treatment is complete and our patients are ready to return home, the necessary paperwork and medication will be organised and explained to the patient. Should they require any follow-up appointments either with a consultant or any specialty nurses or therapists, these will be explained to the patients and a copy of the discharge summary will be sent to the consultant, GP or overseas treating physician.

Breast Surgery

The Royal Free provides a full range of breast surgery procedures and the world-class unit has all the facilities on site for the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast conditions.

Our dedicated breast clinic is staffed by three highly experienced consultant breast surgeons, Mr Tim Davidson, Mr Mo Keshtgar and Mr Deb Ghosh, who are part of a multidisciplinary team which includes medical and clinical oncologists, radiologists, nuclear medicine, a clinical geneticist, breast pathologists and clinical nurse specialists. The breast surgeons, who work both privately and in the NHS, have special interests in breast reconstruction, breast imaging and diagnosis, risk-reducing breast surgery and multidisciplinary treatment for early stage and locally-advanced breast cancer.

The breast surgeons are all members of the Association of Breast Surgeons (ABS) and regularly attend and present work at national and international meetings. The breast unit is acclaimed as a specialist training centre for surgeons from the UK and abroad and is highly rated for teaching and research in addition to its clinical excellence.

The Royal Free is a pioneer in the use of new breast cancer treatments and diagnostic procedures. In 2013 we became the first hospital in the UK and the fourth in the world to introduce a new imaging technology for breast cancer called breast PET (positron emission tomography). We were among the first hospitals to offer electrochemotherapy, which uses electrical pulses to make cells more receptive to cancer-killing drugs.

Together with University College London (UCL), we have conducted research into keyhole mastectomy, nipple endoscopy, photodynamic therapy and new computer software to aid clinicians in decision making. The Royal Free has been a leading centre in the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy, a minimally invasive procedure used to identify whether cancer has spread to the lymph node and rapid intraoperative testing of the node during surgery to avoid the need for a second anaesthetic.

The Royal Free is part of an international clinical trial (TARGIT) into intra-operative radiotherapy, which involves giving selected breast cancer patients a single dose of radiation at the time of surgery rather than needing multiple post-operative visits, so saving time and reducing side effects. In 2011, the TARGIT Academy was founded at the Royal Free to train new users of the equipment from around the world.


The national amyloidosis centre at the Royal Free is the only centre in the UK specialising in amyloidosis.

Amyloidosis is a group of disorders where proteins called amyloids are abnormally deposited in organs causing disease. These deposits can accumulate virtually anywhere within the body and symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient.

The centre diagnoses and treats patients with all types of amyloidosis from across the UK, as well as providing counselling and information to patients and their families. Around 500 new patients with amyloidosis are seen every year.

The centre is also part of University College London’s centre for amyloidosis and acute phase proteins, one of the world’s leading centres for amyloid research.


The cardiology department at the Royal Free provides a comprehensive patient-centred service and a wide range of investigations and treatments for heart problems.

The Royal Free is one of two ‘heart attack centres’ for the north central London area, providing emergency angioplasty treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week for patients suffering from a heart attack. Angioplasty is a procedure usedto widen blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart.

Every year the service treats around 15,000 new and follow-up patients and implants approximately 160 pacemakers (a battery-operated device which sends regular electrical pulses to keep the heart beating regularly).

The high-quality services are delivered by a large multi-disciplinary team of highly skilled consultant cardiologists supported by cardiac physiologists, radiographers, administrative staff and nurses.

The cardiology department is also a training centre for procedures such as angioplasty and pacemaker implantation and for advanced catheterisation practice for non-medical catheterisation laboratory professionals. It attracts medical and non-medical professionals worldwide on its research programmes and has a track record of collaboration with the Royal Free’s other specialties including the amyloidosis centre and haematology department, as well as other hospitals including Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and Royal Brompton&Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

Renal Services

The Royal Free’s nephrology and transplantation department serves a local population of 1.4 million people, providing a comprehensive in-patient and out-patient service for the investigation and treatment of kidney problems. It is also nationally recognised in a number of sub-specialty areas.

The Royal Free is a major transplantation centre and carries out 110 kidney transplants every year of which around 40% are from living donors. Offering keyhole surgery (laparoscopic) as routine, its results compare favourably with the best transplant units both nationally and internationally. The department has special expertise in arranging live donor transplantation from donors who live abroad. It also manages dialysis services for the north central London area, with all modalities supported and an active dialysis research programme.

The department is a regional centre of excellence for vascular access surgery for haemodialysis and has a specialist service for acute kidney injury.

Other services offered by the renal team include:


Metabolic Kidney Stone Service

The Royal Free metabolic kidney stone service is one of just a few units in the UK to specialise in the medical management of recurrent kidney stones. We are distinctive in having very close links with our stone urologists, allowing us to provide a complete and integrated service to our patients with kidney stone disease. The Royal Free has one of the largest such programmes in the UK and has a great deal of clinical and research expertise in this area.

Kidney stones are an increasingly common problem worldwide and can require frequent shock-wave (lithotripsy) or surgical treatment. Recurrent kidney stones have a negative impact on a patient’s quality of life. They can also lead to more severe health problems such as kidney failure.

The Royal Free’s unit specialises in diagnosing the underlying causes of recurrent kidney stones. These causes may be genetic, metabolic, anatomical, biochemical or due to a patient’s diet. We conduct a range of blood and urine tests to identify the causes, in conjunction with specialist laboratory expertise at the Royal Free. Patients can then receive the most appropriate treatment to improve the problem and in some cases, stop them from developing kidney stones altogether.

The unit is also a centre of stone research, focusing on improving understanding of the genetic, dietary and biochemical causes of kidney stones.


Vascular Services

The field of vascular surgery is unique in that it combines both the medical and surgical treatments of vascular disease (diseases involving the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart).

In April 2012, the Royal Free became a vascular surgery ‘hub’ for north central London, which means that all patients in the area who require emergency vascular surgery or complex aortic surgery now undergo their operations at our hospital. The hub enables patients to benefit from world-class surgery and care provided by experts in the field, using the latest techniques and technology. It also ensures that we perform high volumes of complex vascular surgery to deliver better patient outcomes.

The vascular surgery department brings together academic and clinical staff to deliver excellence in research. Over the last 20 years a large multidisciplinary research group has developed, incorporating University College London (UCL), the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, which are part of the academic health science centreUCLPartners.

Immunology, Infection and Transplantation

We are developing an institute for immunity, infection and transplantation, with the full support of our academic partners University College London (UCL). The first phase was officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG, in June 2013. Phase two, which would see the development of a stand-alone building adjacent to the Royal Free to house further treatment facilities, laboratories and researchers is due to be completed in summer 2017.

With an adjacent clinical trials unit, the new academic centre will address a wide range of human diseases including blood and other cancers, HIV and hepatitis, autoimmune diseases, genetic diseases and the processes of ageing. It will build on cutting-edge technologies, including cell and gene therapies, next generation vaccines and new diagnostic methods. The aim is to ensure research is translated faster into new treatments for patients.

The Institute will aim to:

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Plastic and reconstructive surgery is one of the major surgical disciplines at the Royal Free. At the heart of the service is a dedication to continuous improvement and a commitment to embracing the latest advances and technologies. It is one of the country’s leading and largest plastic-surgery units, and through its links with the University College London Medical School, is also a major teaching and research centre, particularly in the field of tissue engineering and stem cells.

The department has a team of 15 consultants who undertake general plastic surgery procedures and, in addition, they each have specialist interests such as facial reanimation, ear reconstruction and complex microsurgical breast reconstruction (such as DIEP) as well as novel minimally-invasive restoration of appearance technology with the help of stem cells.

The unit is a national centre of excellence for facial reanimation surgery and ear and breast reconstruction. Consultants are involved in multidisciplinary treatments of skin cancers, sarcomas (a type of cancer), breast cancer as well as major abdominal wall reconstruction. A comprehensive selection of procedures to improve aesthetic appearance is also offered, such as minimal-scar facelift and total body contouring.

The internationally recognised ear reconstruction service is run jointly by Mr Greg O’Toole and Mr Walid Sabbagh. Children with congenital deformity of the ear, and adults who require reconstructive surgery following trauma, receive first-class care from an experienced team.

There is also a large supporting team allowing comprehensive post-operative care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Haemophilia Services

The Royal Free became the haemophilia hub for north London in April 2012 and is a large comprehensive provider of care for inherited and acquired bleeding and clotting disorders.

The Katharine Dormandyhaemophiliacentre and thrombosis unit provides comprehensive haemophilia care and the excellence of our services and the quality of our research is widely recognised. Pioneering research being undertaken at the centre has the potential to cure haemophilia.

The service includes clinics for the diagnosis and the management of bleeding disorders. Patients with severe life-long bleeding disorders have specialist needs and are able to access other services across different disciplines.

Our award-winning clinicians include Nicholas Goddard, who was awarded The Henri Horoszowski Award at the World Federation of Haemophilia (WFH) congress in Paris in 2012 for a paper he co-authored which could help to change the way haemophilia patients are treated after undergoing a total knee replacement. Two former directors of the Katharine Dormandyhaemophiliacentre were also recognised at the awards ceremony. Professor Edward Tuddenham, who retired in 2011, was presented with The Henri Chaigneau Prize by the French Haemophilia Society Association Française des Hémophiles for his work on gene therapy, and Professor Christine Lee, who was director of the centre from 1991 to 2005, was given the WFH international lifetime achievement award.

Liver Services Including Transplantation

The Royal Free is host to one of two liver transplant and hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) units in London and is a designated cancer centre for the treatment of tumours of the liver and pancreas.

We are a major centre for kidney and bone marrow transplants and one ofthe seven liver transplant centres in the UK. Patients are referred to us from across the UK and abroad. Some of these seek a second or a third opinion, having been deemed inoperable or untreatable elsewhere.

The Royal Free is one of the few centres in the UK to offer liver transplants from live donors and in February 2012, we performed what was believed to be the first UK transplant between an adult live donor and an adult with acute (fulminant) liver failure.

UCLPartners’ liver and digestive health workstream, of which the Royal Free is part, is ranked in the world top ten with a superb international reputation for its research, service and education.

The trust has the largest neuroendocrine tumour service in the UK which has an international reputation for the management of patients with this type of cancer. NETs are known as a ‘quiet’ cancer as they are relatively rare and can be hard to diagnose.

In 2010, the Royal Free NET unit was the first to become a European centre of excellence for this type of cancer. The unit receives referrals from across the UK as well as from abroad.


The Royal Free’shaematology department provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment services, with a particular focus on haematological malignancies (cancers which affect blood, bone marrow and the lymph nodes).

The department teaches undergraduate and postgraduate medical, technical and scientific students, and all clinicians in the department are actively engaged in research and have national and international reputations. Its scientists, who are involved with diagnosing and monitoring patients, also have an international reputation for their academic research.

As well as providing well-established treatments in a comfortable and highly professional setting, the department also offers a wide range of clinicaltrials for patients who may benefit from new therapies which are not routinely available.


Haematology Services Include: