Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit

Description of Service

The Lennard-Jones Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) at St Mark’s Hospital is a specialist centre dedicated to the assessment and management of patients with severe intestinal failure.

In 2021 the service became recognised as a National Reference Centre (NRC) for the management of severe intestinal failure. It is an Integrated Care centre for the surgical and medical care of severe intestinal failure for the West London area, with extended responsibility for the Hertfordshire region and continuing responsibility for the Kent and East Surrey areas. As a NRC patients can be seen at St Mark’s from outside these regions.

As an Integrated Care centre, we are proud to have joined with St George’s Hospital to deliver care equally in the north and south parts of West London, as well as for the Kent and East Surrey areas. This collaborative approach between the two hospitals will be to the benefit of patients, enabling us to optimise intestinal failure and home parenteral nutrition care in a wide area.

Dr Simon Gabe is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital and Lead at the Lennard-Jones Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit.

The IRU is supported by a multi-disciplinary team who offer a comprehensive approach to patients with intestinal failure receiving parenteral (feeding intravenously) or enteral (tube feeding) nutrition. The role of the team is to perform a nutritional assessment, design a nutrition regime, and address electrolyte/metabolic derangements whilst continuing to offer support for education and training with nutritional input.

Dr Alison Culkin is a Consultant Dietitian in intestinal rehabilitation at St Mark’s Hospital where she has worked since 1998. She specialises in severe intestinal failure, intestinal rehabilitation and home parenteral nutrition (HPN).

What is Intestinal Failure?

Intestinal Failure is a rare condition in which:

  • The small intestine is unable to digest or absorb the correct amount of nutrients
  • The body is not able to reabsorb fluids produced by the intestine

These factors can therefore contribute to malnutrition and dehydration.

About the Unit

In 2020 the IRU moved from Northwick Park Hospital to Central Middlesex Hospital. This occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, enabling the service to continue on a ‘green’ site. St Mark’s also moved its service at this time and over the following year. The Lennard Jones IRU consists of 20 beds which are made up with five bays and six single-side rooms. In keeping with the Trust and Dignity policy, we practice same-sex accommodation.

There are five large bays consisting of four beds in each bay. The side rooms are only used for screening and isolation. Once the screening process has been completed patients are moved into open bays.

“We strive to help patients with intestinal failure have an excellent quality of life”.

Professor John Lennard-Jones

The Lennard-Jones Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit is named after one of the St Mark’s greats – Professor John Lennard-Jones was a pioneering gastroenterologist who worked at St Mark’s Hospital from the late 1950s up to the 1990s, but continued to provide his expertise at events and conferences long after he retired. He was a world expert in IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and established parenteral nutrition for patients at the hospital. To read more, the Royal College of Physicians have a biography of him here.

Contact the Unit

The Lennard-Jones Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit, Roundwood Suite, St Mark’s Hospital, Central Middlesex, Acton Lane, London NW10 7NS

The Unit is based in the main area on the ground floor. Tel: 020 8965 5733

The Roundwood WardTel: 020 8453 2215 or 020 8453 2149

Intestinal Rehabilitation Advice Line (Nutrition Team: dietitians, pharmacy, medical secretaries, outpatients bookings, stoma care, IBD): Tel: 020 8453 2080

Coordinator: Vatsala Dodhia
Tel: 020 8453 2389

See also: Referral to the Unit and the Intestinal Rehabilitation Newsletter Catalogue