The Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (University Hospital Brussels) is a university hospital with a staff of almost 4,000. With its 721 hospital beds, UZ Brussel annually has more than 30,000 hospital admissions, almost as many outpatients and 360,000 consultations for patients from Belgium and other countries. UZ Brussel provides a complete array of medical care, across the spectrum of various specialisations. This is inherent in the teaching function of a university hospital. Medical training can be provided only by a hospital that delivers a complete range of clinical care.
Complex and top-class clinical care provided by highly qualified experts
UZ Brussel provides complex, top-class clinical care of the very highest standard. The medical professionals of university hospitals hold state-of-the-art qualifications. Hospital physicians nominated or designated on the recommendation of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) manage and support the medical personnel. UZ Brussel has high-tech equipment. This allows the hospital to promote the effective use and dissemination of new medical technologies. Technologically, the hospital strives to be a frontrunner, but without becoming involved in any kind of medical race.
Training and scientific endeavour
Training is a pivotal part of the mission of UZ Brussel. As a university hospital, UZ Brussel has a statutory duty to provide general clinical training to medical students. Close ties therefore exist with the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, also located at the Brussels Health Campus in Jette, and with other Belgian and foreign universities.
Professors at UZ Brussel provide advanced training for general practitioners and medical specialists, either directly or by supporting other colleagues. This responsibility and these activities require scientific dedication plus considerable time commitment on the part of the professors. This kind of training is provided principally by university hospitals. It focuses on professionals who individually or as members of a multidisciplinary team are involved in providing care within or outside hospitals. This category includes student nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, ergotherapists, logopedists, clinical psychologists, laboratory assistants and others.
Scientific and clinical research
The purpose of pure scientific research is to understand and unravel mechanisms that play a role in disorders and finding ways and means of treating them (such as medication). The initial phase is used to perfect and monitor possible treatments in laboratory conditions, either using tissue cultures or through tests on animals, with a view to assessing their functioning, effectiveness and possible toxicity.
Clinical research starts once the results of pure scientific research are considered sufficient to be able to progress. The objective of clinical research is to test the effectiveness, safety and other aspects of molecules or treatments on humans. Essentially, clinical research seeks to identify and evaluate the practical application of what pure scientific research has identified as ‘highly promising’.
Importantly, the close permanent ties that exist between fundamental research conducted at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and clinical research performed at UZ Brussel assure the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and create pools of advanced scientific knowledge. There is long-standing close collaboration between them on specific subjects. In terms of developing and perfecting innovative techniques and treatments, UZ Brussel plays an important role in evaluating these procedures once they start being used. Its role is clearly visible in three fields: health technology assessment, evidence-based medicine and evidence-based health care.
If clinical research produces concrete results, or if a new medical technology is perfected, the researchers at UZ Brussel disclose their findings in Belgium and other countries. This occurs in various ways: by publishing articles in authoritative scientific journals or on the Internet, by speaking at scientific conferences or by tutoring and teaching. These activities account for a substantial part of the workload of these researchers, who meanwhile perform their regular daily clinical duties as consultants at a university hospital. This kind of research and dissemination of new technologies has been laid down in laws and standards. Its sustained efforts means UZ Brussel is constantly evolving in the R&D field.
Over the years this approach has led to the emergence of several medico-scientific areas of expertise. It has produced world firsts in medical diagnosis and treatment, such as the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, the Oncology Centre, the Diabetes Research Centre, the Centre for Medical Imaging and the Centre for Heart and Vascular Diseases. The proven top-quality work of the various research centres of UZ Brussel, conducted in a stimulating spirit of openness, independence and candid investigation, is the reason why the hospital ranks alongside other leading university hospitals.
Full information can be found at www.uzbrussel.be.