Provost Dr Michael Spence appointed to the Royal Free London’s board

UCL’s President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence, says it’s a real privilege to have joined the board of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL), and is excited by the hospital’s ambitious agenda.

Dr Spence has taken his place as a non-executive director on the RFL board, an appointment that further cements the long-standing partnership between UCL and the RFL.

The RFL is now one of the UCL Medical School’s main teaching and research sites, and the new Pears Building, a cutting-edge facility based on the RFL’s campus is home to UCL’s Institute of Immunity & Transplantation, which brings together leading scientists, academic clinicians, and clinical trials specialists from all over the world to develop revolutionary treatments and therapies for patients.

This close partnership of research and innovation has recently seen the RFL trust achieve top 10 status for recruitment into academic studies.

Since April 2023, the RFL has led on 183 research studies, involving nearly 7,000 recruits - many in collaboration with UCL.

Education and training are also fundamental to the RFL which offers more than 600 postgraduate training posts, across over 70 specialties, and hosts more than 300 nursing and midwifery students.

On joining the RFL board, Dr Spence said: "It is a real privilege to be taking my place on the board of the Royal Free London.

"The partnership between the trust and university is growing and is most visible when you walk around the Royal Free Hospital campus where UCL hosts a medical school and where you can’t fail to be impressed by the Pears Building, home of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation.

"We know that teaching hospital trusts with a strong research focus deliver the best outcomes for patients, and I am excited by the ambitious agenda being set by the RFL board, despite all the ongoing challenges the NHS is facing.

"I cannot wait to play my part in helping the trust to deliver on that - developing its staff and providing the very best care to patients."

Mark Lam, chair of the Royal Free London, described the appointment as a huge moment for the trust.
"We’re thrilled to be welcoming Dr Spence to our board. This is an historic moment in the close relationship between UCL - London’s leading university - and the Royal Free London," Mark said.
"We are incredibly proud of our partnership with UCL, which is crucial to our ambition to become one of the leading research and academic institutions in the NHS.
"UCL opened university education to the many, not the few, in 1826; and since our foundation in 1828, the Royal Free London has had a pioneering history, leading the way in many areas of healthcare. Dr Spence’s appointment is another chapter in that illustrious history."


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