University College London took another step towards creating one of the largest university medical schools in the world after merging this week with the Institute of Child Health in Great Ormond Street.
The institute of child health officially became part of UCL on September 1. It follows the recent merger between UCL and the Institute of Opthalmology, based at Moorfields Hospital.
Provisional dates have also been set for the mergers of the Institute of Neurology, in Queen's Square, in a year's time, and the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, in Hampstead, in August 1998.
Sir Derek Roberts, UCL's provost, said: "These mergers will take UCL into a leading position not just within Europe but the world."
The three institutes and the Royal Free School of Medicine will form part of a new Royal Free and University College Medical School of the University of London.
The institutes will double the number of UCL's postgraduate medical institutions to six. The college already includes the Institute of Orthopaedics, Institute of Laryngology and Otology and the Institute of Urology and Nephrology.
The addition of the Royal Free Medical School will complement UCL's medical school. The mergers will add 4 full-time academics and 291 research fellows and assistants to UCL.
Impetus for the changes came from the Tomlinson report, in 1992, which recommended that medical schools merge with multifaculty colleges. The aim is that medical schools benefit by being able to use hi-tech equipment they might otherwise be unable to afford.