UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Consultation launched on proposal to move Moorfields Eye Hospital to King’s Cross

24 May 2019

Moorfields has launched a consultation to ensure that patients and the public have their say on exciting proposals to move the hospital to a new facility.

A patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital

A consultation to build an innovative eye care and research centre in central London was launched today (24 May 2019) to ensure that patients and the public have their say on exciting proposals to move Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The consultation, led by NHS Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on behalf of all CCGs together with NHS England Specialised Commissioning, which commissions specialised services for the whole of England, invites the public to have their say on “Oriel” – the proposal to build the new facility at St Pancras Hospital that brings together excellent eye care, ground-breaking research and world-leading education in ophthalmology on one site.

The proposal is a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity. It would see Moorfields Eye Hospital move its City Road services to the St Pancras Hospital site in Camden, where a new integrated facility housing the three partners would be built. 

Following feedback from patients, extensive research and a detailed options appraisal the partners want to create a new centre that will bring clinicians and scientists closer together to exploit developments in care and research for the benefit of patients. 

This cannot be done effectively at Moorfields’ City Road site which was built over a century ago at a time when hospital care was provided very differently from how it is now. Feedback from patients and carers is consistently very positive about clinical care, but some find City Road confusing to navigate, crowded and not suitable for wheelchair users.

Our sight is a critically important to us. Every day 250 people in the UK start to lose their sight and almost 10% of all UK NHS hospital appointments are for eyes. And the problem is set to worsen – by 2050 it’s estimated that four million people will be living with sight loss because of our ageing population and rising incidence of diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Major advances in technology are bringing the potential for better diagnostics, treatments and information sharing which could mean fewer waits and fewer hospital visits. But the right facilities are needed to their full potential.

After the consultation closes on Monday 16 September, commissioners for 14 London and Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups which hold contracts with Moorfields will decide whether the proposed move should proceed to the next stage of planning. 

If commissioners support this proposal, Moorfields and UCL would develop their plans and related business cases reflecting views received during the public consultation. If approved, these business cases would result in Moorfields and UCL selling the current City Road site, buying land at St Pancras and appointing a construction firm. The new facility could open to patients in 2025/26. 

David Probert, chief executive for Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:
“This is a crucial milestone in our ambitious proposal to design, build and operate a new, integrated eye care, research and education facility.  Our ability to provide modern, efficient and effective treatment is achieved despite the limitations of our century-old City Road site, which sometimes means that patients do not always get the best care, delivered in modern ways.  

“That is why we are looking at moving both the hospital to a new purpose-built centre where we would be able to transform lives, turn research into new treatments faster and share our knowledge and understanding with the clinicians of tomorrow.

“We’ve already had feedback from over 1,600 people across the country through earlier public engagements and we want to make sure that any future decision is made based on the involvement of those who use and provide our services.  I strongly encourage patients, staff and the wider public to use this consultation to send us their views.”  

Professor Andrew Dick, director of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said:
“We would strongly encourage participation in this consultation. Oriel is a fabulous opportunity for us to deliver research and education in vision and eye disease that truly affects people’s day to day lives. 

Oriel will help us to develop our fundamental and discovery research excellence. A clear understanding of the needs of patients and staff will be vital to the development of a flexible, patient-focused environment that maximises the opportunities to translate science into experimental medicine and trials in patients, leading to new medical technologies, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and digital products.”

Robert Dufton, chief executive of Moorfields Eye Charity, said:
“We welcome the public consultation about the proposal to move Moorfields Eye Hospital to a new site near Kings Cross. Thanks to generous support from donors in the past the hospital moved in 1899 from its previous site on the street Moorfields to the current site on City Road.  We are confident that many generous donors of today will support the creation of Oriel - the centre for advancing eye health - which is now being proposed.  We encourage people to respond to the consultation.”

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