The Bath Centre for Pain Services at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) is a centre of excellence for the treatment of chronic pain which traces its origins back to 1738.
The hospital has an international reputation for research into, and the treatment of, a variety of conditions including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Ankylosing Spondylitis.
In February 2015, the RNHRD merged and became part of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH). Following that merger, it was announced that in August 2019, the services provided at the RNHRD would leave their historic site in the centre of Bath and move into purpose-built premises at the main RUH site in Combe Park, about a mile from Bath city centre.
In addition to the services currently provided at the RNHRD, the new facility will also incorporate the RUH’s own therapy services.
The vision for the new therapies’ centre is to “create a nurturing environment with dedicated facilities for rheumatology, therapies and pain management services.”
Residential rehabilitation for chronic pain
The Bath Centre for Pain Services is particularly renowned for residential rehabilitation, which include dedicated courses for both adults and adolescents with CRPS. It is planned that these residential courses will continue, with accommodation to be provided in a new facility to be built in the coming months on the RUH site.
On 11th March 2019, three members of BLB’s chronic pain team (pictured above alongside an artist’s impression of the new therapies’ centre) accepted a kind invitation for a tour around the new facility. Whilst it remains very much a construction site, the contractors are currently ahead of schedule and already it is possible to visualise how the centre will look when complete.
The architect for the project consulted not only with clinicians but also, crucially, with patients and the result of that understanding is clear in the design, décor and other features of the building.
One stand-out feature is the hydrotherapy pool. At a time when other hospitals are closing their hydrotherapy services due to cost, the hydrotherapy pool at the new therapies centre is twice the size of its predecessor and will be the largest in the region.
BLB’s head of personal injury, Andrew Atkinson, said:
“Today offered a fantastic opportunity to see what this new consolidated facility will have to offer people, not only from Bath and the surrounding area, but from around the country. Over the years, many of our clients have benefited from the expertise available at the Bath Centre for Pain Services, which has a national reputation for the treatment of chronic pain. The announcement of the merger and subsequent relocation has therefore caused more than a degree of anxiety as to whether that reputation can survive this merger and move.
“Having now viewed these fantastic new facilities and heard first-hand the enthusiasm of the clinical staff, I am hopeful that not only can it survive the move but develop that reputation further in the years ahead.”