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The Western General Hospital (often abbreviated to simply "The Western General"), at Crewe Road, Edinburgh, Scotland is part of NHS Lothian, a Heath Board which provides a comprehensive range of adult and paediatric care to the people of Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond.
It is one of the main teaching hospitals affiliated to the University of Edinburgh Medical School. It houses the neurology and neurosurgery centre for south east Scotland ("Department of Clinical Neurosciences"), the regional oncology and haematology Units, the regional Colorectal Surgical Unit and the Stroke Research Unit for Lothian. There is a major national cancer research and treatment centre at the hospital. The first Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre opened at the Western General in 1996.
The hospital also contains the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit. (Clinical services in Scotland for adults with cystic fibrosis are also provided from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow.) The Edinburgh team runs an outreach clinic in Dundee, and the University of Dundee is home to the cystic fibrosis audit database, which collects data on all registered CF patients to monitor their health trends. Training and support is also available for patients and their carers to facilitate and maximise independent living and to encourage community based management wherever possible, and there is also provision for in-patient and day case clinical management.
The nearby Royal Victoria Hospital is due to be reprovided on the Western General Hospital site in May 2012 with at least 130 Medicine for the Elderly and Stroke rehabilitation beds moving onto the site in addition to the existing 64 Acute Medicine for the Elderly / Acute Stroke beds.
A teaching hospital is a hospital that provides clinical education and training to future and current doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, in addition to delivering medical care to patients. They are generally affiliated with medical schools or universities (hence the alternative term university hospital), and may be owned by a university or may form part of an wider regional or national health system.
Some teaching hospitals also have a commitment to research and are centers for experimental, innovative and technically sophisticated services. In some countries like the United States where insurance is needed before treatment will occur, teaching hospitals also serve as safety net providing treatment to uninsured and under-insured patients.
Although institutions for caring for the sick are known to have existed much earlier in history, the first teaching hospital, where students were authorized to methodically practice on patients under the supervision of physicians as part of their education, was reportedly the Academy of Gundishapur in the Persian Empire during the Sassanid era. The Middle Persian word Bimaristan literally translates into "land of sickness".
In the medieval Islamic world, al-Nuri hospital, built by the famous Nur ad-Din Zanqi, was made a teaching hospital and renowned physicians taught there. The hospital's medical school is said to have had elegant rooms, and a library which many of its books were donated by Zangi's physician, Abu al-Majid al-Bahili. A number of Muslim physicians and physicists graduated from there. Among the well-known students are Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah (1203-1270), the famous medical historian, and 'Ala ad-Din Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1289) whose discovery of pulmonary circulation and the lesser circulatory system marked a new step in the better understanding of human physiology and was the earliest explanation until Miguel Servet (1553).
The University of Edinburgh founded in 1582, is an internationally renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. It is the sixth university to be established in the British Isles, making it one of the ancient universities of the United Kingdom.
The university is placed amongst the best in the world, ranking 20th in the current THES - QS World University Rankings., as well as 17th in the current Global University Ranking. It played an important role leading the city of Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the north. Alumni of the university include some of the major figures of modern history.