£2m eye centre gets the green light

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THE board of directors at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has given the green light to a £2 million project that is set to completely revitalise the trust’s ophthalmology services.

The Chesterfield Eye Centre development will bring all specialties under one roof (including emergency care, cataracts, age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and orthoptics) – to improve patient services and overall patient experience.

Around 2000 patients use the Royal’s ophthalmology service every week. The new scheme will provide for one-stop clinics (where patients have a number of tests, investigations on the same day), will improve privacy and dignity (with recovery areas for patients who have had treatment) and develop partnership working (Sight Support Derbyshire will also have a base in the centre). It also builds in capacity to treat greater numbers of patients in future.

The centre will have its own entrance and reception – which will meet the specific needs of the visually impaired – as well as separate children’s areas, designed to provide welcoming, safe and friendly clinical surroundings for the Royal’s youngest eye patients.

Out-patient suites 3 and 10 at the Royal, plus facilities currently off site at Saltergate Health Centre in Chesterfield (diabetic retinopathy) will merge to become a modern, progressive and effective unit.

“This is an exciting project and one which will have a huge impact on the quality of service we offer,” explains chief executive Eric Morton. “Over the years, to keep up with referrals and demand, there has been rapid expansion in our ophthalmology services. However, as a result it means we are currently providing excellent clinical care from at least three different locations. This is not an efficient way to work and is frustrating and confusing for patients and staff. The Chesterfield Eye Centre will make an enormous difference to the way we care and treat for patients with eye conditions. And to have everything in one specialist centre will be the icing on the cake.”

The new centre will be based in the former Chatsworth Suite - accommodation vacated by private healthcare providers BMI in December last year. Work to redevelop the area will begin in November 2011, with the Eye Centre’s unveiling planned for May 2012.