Maudsley Hospital

The Maudsley Hospital is a psychiatric hospital in Denmark Hill, three minute walk from King’s College Hospital, and well known for its status as the centre of mental health training in the UK. It is located just across the road from Denmark Hill station and very near to the lovely Ruskin Park which patients and staff may visit for a change of scenery.

It was founded by the early twentieth century psychiatrist Dr Henry Maudsley who offered a donation of £40,000 to London County Council for the purposes of founding a mental health hospital. In particular, he stipulated that the emphasis of this hospital must be on providing care for those in acute suffering and that it also be used for the instruction of new psychiatrists as well as for wider scientific research into the nature of psychiatric disorder. Thus, from the very inception of the institution it has been something of an unofficial mental health “teaching hospital.

Within five years of opening, however, the hospital had been co-opted as a World War One hospital and it was not until 1923 when it was once again used specifically to treat the needs of those with mental health disorders. There was disruption again, however, as the Second World War began and the risk of locating a hospital in central London (where air raids were becoming more of a concern) was deemed too high. The hospital was at this time housed in two temporary locations: Mill Hill School and Belmont Hospital in Sutton. Soon after the war, the Maudsley would embark upon its long standing partnership with the Bethlehem Royal Hospital which allowed both to increase their catchment areas within London and offer a wider variety of community-based healthcare services.

Nowadays, the hospital acts both as a local mental health referral unit for people within the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark as well as nationally for those with more severe disorders. It is located alongside the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry which enables plenty of cross-pollination when it comes to research. Also based on the same campus is the Biomedical Research Centre, the purpose of which being to convert up-to-date research findings into practical, clinical methodology and techniques and then to disseminate these throughout the mental health community. Part of the focus of this centre is on the idea of developing treatments that take into account individual needs and differences, known as “personalised medicine”. Perhaps the most widely reported recent project of this Centre is the early warning system for Alzheimers developed to automatically compare MRI scans of someone’s brain with thousands of peoples’ at differing stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Over the years the Maudsley has come to be known not only as the home of psychiatry and mental health teaching in the UK but also the home to a great number of important innovations in mental health care and treatment. At the same time as forming part of a large number of psychiatrists’ training, it houses a large number of in-patients and out-patients and is also well known in the local area for the services it provides.