RHN Constitutional framework


The RHN is a CHARITY registered with the Charity Commission.
The RHN’s governing constitution is a ROYAL CHARTER AND BYELAWS
The RHN BOARD delegates functions to the Executive and Committees as set out in the COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE and other delegations under the Byelaws
The RHN BOARD ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK shows how it ensures it complies with its legal duties
The RHN is registered with Companies House as a Royal Charter body and also has a limited company (currently non trading)
The RHN is registered with the CARE QUALITY COMMISSION (CQC)


The RHN is registered with the Charity Commission under the name “Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability”, Charity no 205907. Details of the registration and the RHN’s annual returns are on the Charity Commission web site.

The charity was founded at a meeting held on 31 July 1854. The charity was called “The Royal Hospital for the permanent care and comfort of those who by disease, accident or deformity are hopelessly disqualified for the duties of life” and came to be called, more briefly, The Hospital for Incurables. The first meeting set out the charitable objects of the new charity. The meeting also decided how the charity was to be run and immediately set about fundraising. The first fundraising brochure, in 1854, contained a copy of its charitable objects from that first meeting.


Over the years the RHN has been known by different names.

  • 1854: The Hospital for Incurables
  • 1917: Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables
  • 1995: Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

In 1995 the Royal Charter was amended to change the name to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability.

Charitable Objects

The objects of the charity remain as they did in 1854 ie

“To give permanent relief to such persons as are hopelessly disqualified for the duties of life by disease, accident, or deformity, and this shall be carried out on the broad principle of Christian kindness and liberality.”

The RHN has updated and redefined the way it would carry out those charitable objects. In November 2015 the RHN submitted its activities to the Charity Commission as follows:

“The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability is an independent, national, not-for-profit medical charity. It is not part of the NHS. It seeks through the provisions of specialist services and research to enable people with profound or complex disabilities resulting from damage to the brain or other areas of the nervous system, to enjoy an optimal quality of life through enhanced independence.”

The RHN also administers a number a smaller related charitable funds:

The Chaplain’s Stipend Fund
This is a trust fund set up by the Rt Hon Sir Massey Lopes Bt to generate income to contribute towards the cost of chaplaincy services available at the RHN.

The Patient Amenities Fund
This is a Restricted fund ie it can only be used for restricted purposes

The John Howard Convalescent Home (“The John Howard Trust”)
This was a holiday home which was sold and the funds invested. This is a Restricted fund ie it can only be used for restricted purposes. We use the investment returns but the capital remains invested.


The way the RHN is governed is set out in its Royal Charter and the Byelaws which are annexed to the Royal Charter.

The RHN obtained its first Royal Charter in 1919. It is amended from time to time and the latest Royal Charter agreed by her late Majesty the Queen in July 2022, together with the Byelaws.

A list of the dates of the changes to the Charter can be seen here.


The RHN is governed by a Board of Governors (usually referred to as Trustees). The Board
then elects a Chair.

There must be a minimum of eight and a maximum of fifteen Board Members (including the
Chair) who hold office for a period of 4 years. They may not hold office for longer than two
consecutive terms of four years, unless the Board decides there are exceptional

The current Chair and Board members are here.

The Board is a non-executive body which has four meetings a year. It sets the strategic
direction of the RHN.

There are also a number of Honorary positions. The holders of honorary posts do not
participate in the governance of the RHN.

  • Her Majesty the Queen (deceased 8 September 2022)


  • Leonora, Countess of Lichfield

Vice Presidents:

  • Ruth Maxwell
  • Shirley Palmer
  • Alan Sanders
  • The Mayor of Wandsworth (ex Officio)


The RHN BOARD delegates functions to the Executive and Committees as set out in the COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE and other delegations under the byelaws.

The Board delegates the day to day running of the RHN to the Chief Executive. He is responsible for carrying out the functions of the RHN according to the STRATEGY set by the Board and within the budget which the Board sets annually.

The Chief Executive is assisted in this by the EXECUTIVE TEAM which meets every week.

The Board also holds the Executive to account for implementing the strategy and for complying with all the laws and regulatory requirements applying to the RHN. It does this through COMMITTEES OF THE BOARD. Committees of the Board are chaired by Trustees who also usually comprise the majority of the committee membership. The Board can also co-opt non-trustees to the committees.

The major Board committees are the Audit and Risk Committee, Finance Committee, Nominations and Remuneration Committee and the Patient Safety and Quality Committee.

The committee structure is here.
Current committee membership is here.

There is another level of sub committees which report to the Board Committees and are staffed by the executive. These committees do the work which provides the Board committees with information and assurance. The structure of these committees can be seen here.

The RHN BOARD ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK shows how it ensures it complies with its legal duties and carries out its functions and strategy.


The RHN is registered at Companies House as a Royal Charter company (RC00481). It also has a LIMITED COMPANY, Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability Services Ltd which is registered at Companies House: Company No. 04570542. Its function is to ensure that the charity benefits from certain income generating activities.


As a private charitable hospital, the RHN is also registered with the CARE QUALITY COMMISSION (CQC)

You can see the details of the RHN’s registrations with these bodies and, where published, the latest annual returns and reports as follows:

The RHN Annual Report and Accounts
The RHN Annual Review