Read through the answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

If you still have a question or would like this information in another format, please fill out the form on our contact page.

What is Oriel?
What is Oriel?

Oriel is the name we have given to our plan to create the world centre for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. We would do this by bringing closer together research, services and teaching. This will improve the quality of our eye services and patients’ experience of using them.

What's wrong with the City Road hospital?
The existing buildings on City Road are almost 125 years old and were built when hospital care was provided very differently from how it is now. The ageing infrastructure of the hospital is growing increasingly difficult and costly to maintain and the configuration of our existing buildings offers little scope for true integration between the clinical, research and teaching elements of our work.

Feedback from patients and carers, particularly over the past five years, is very positive about clinical care, but often includes criticisms about the quality of patients’ experience when visiting the hospital. During inspections our regulator, the Care Quality Commission, has agreed with these comments.

Some patients have said that their journey through the current building is complicated and not always dignified; it takes longer for them to complete treatment or investigations during an appointment than necessary. Facilities for disabled people, such as wheelchair users, are restricted and waiting areas have been described as overcrowded and uncomfortable.

It is important that we ensure that Moorfields can continue to provide services well into the future because we know that the need for eye services is set to increase significantly. We have an ageing population which is often affected by sight loss as well as an increasing incidence of diseases that affect eyesight, like diabetes and obesity.

Moorfields trains over 50% of the UK’s eye specialists and has a leading research centre working on more and better treatments for patients with eye disease. We need the right facility to ensure we can move further and faster with these improvements in care.

Creating a new facility for Moorfields Eye Hospital, integrated with the UCL IoO, would provide a flagship centre for the NHS, enabling staff to make ground-breaking discoveries that would radically improve eye care across the UK and beyond.

Why can't City Road be renovated?
We assessed a number of options for improving services and facilities for our patients and a major renovation of City Road was considered but was found to be more expensive and disruptive (especially to patients) than building a new facility.

Although refurbishments go some way to improving the environment for our patients and staff, they are no substitute for purpose-built facilities that can modernise the patient journey and meet the growing demand for eye health services.

Why has St Pancras been chosen as the preferred site?
The site is close to the excellent transport links of Euston and King’s Cross St Pancras, allowing easier access from both inside and outside London.

Moving to this area would also bring us closer to other important health and research partners including UCLH, the main campus of UCL and the Francis Crick Institute, making us part of an emerging scientific hub.

What other options did you consider?
A series of options was considered, including:

  • doing nothing (which would mean no reconfiguration, continued maintenance and little improvement for patients)
  • developing the current site (of which there were seven sub-options, all requiring moving services temporarily during the building phase)
  • doing the minimum (part new build and part refurbishment)
  • moving from City Road and building a new purpose-built centre (for all the current eye care services at City Road, including A&E and the children’s services in the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre and UCL).

Once our process concluded that there were more disadvantages to staying at the current site than moving to a purpose-built site, we considered a number of different locations. The St Pancras Hospital site offered the best chance of our being able to create the world class centre we want, and in a sustainable way. People could also suggest alternative locations during the public consultation which are now being reviewed. Read through our options appraisal process.

What consideration will be given to patients with vision loss who might find it difficult to travel to a new location?
Wherever the proposed new centre is located, we would develop an accessibility plan in partnership with mobility experts, transport authorities, local authorities, patients and their families. As part of any future planning application, we would work with the local authority and others on an audit of access routes and any necessary improvements and adaptations.

Leading eye charities, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and Guide Dogs are working with us to explore the issues and possible solutions. We are starting this work with a symposium in July 2019 that will bring together accessibility experts and people with sight loss.

Why did you run a public consultation?
NHS organisations have a duty to involve people in planning services and service changes. To inform our decision to move Moorfields Eye Hospital’s City Road services to a brand new centre, we need to consider whether the proposed move is in the interests of the health of our populations, in line with long term plans to improve health and care and an effective use of public money. We needed to consult our partners, staff, patients and communities to give this proposal our full consideration.
What did you consult on?
We are proposing to move services at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) from their sites at City Road, Islington, to the St Pancras Hospital site in Camden. We held a public consultation on this proposal from 24 May to 16 September 2019. We listened to the views of patients, carers staff and the public during this time. The consultation is now closed but you can still submit your views by emailing moorfields.oriel@nhs.net or calling 020 7521 4684.
How can I still give my views?
The public consultation is now closed. We would like to thank the thousands of people that took part and shared their views on the proposed move of Moorfields’ City Road services.

We are continuing the discussion and still have a number of events which will focus on some of the main themes which came up during the public consultation. Check the events page for more details and information on how to sign up.

Alternatively, if your group or organisation would like to meet to discuss the proposed move please contact the team by emailing moorfields.oriel@nhs.net or calling 020 7521 4684.

Has the new hospital already been designed?
No. In January 2019, we appointed AECOM with Penoyre & Prasad and White Arkitekter as the team who would design our proposed new centre for eye care, research and education, collaborating closely with our project team and other stakeholders. The images already produced by AECOM with Penoyre & Prasad and White Arkitekter are preliminary designs of what the new facility could look like. These designs were presented at a series of exhibitions to patients, staff and other stakeholders.

The AECOM-led team will now work closely with the project team to produce preliminary designs for the proposed new facility.

What would be the name of the new hospital?
We are currently in the early stages of Oriel and the name of the proposed centre has not been decided yet. Moorfields Eye Charity is working with donors and our appointed design team to recognise the philanthropy and support for our proposal. We would maintain the Moorfields and UCL brands.
What would happen to the current City Road building?
We are working very closely with Islington Council and our development partners to determine the future of the City Road site. No decisions have been made at this stage as to the future use of the site, and it has not been put up for sale.
Would any clinical services remain on City Road?
No. Our proposal is that all services, including the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre, Moorfields Private and the clinic on Cayton Street, would move to the new facility. No services would remain at the City Road site.
What would this mean for the rest of the Moorfields network?
The network of Moorfields services across London and further afield would continue to deliver and develop services for patients, as it does now. We would continue to adapt our wider care network to take advantage of new technology, advances in eye care and the many future opportunities offered by the proposed new centre.

Although the current proposal does not include changes to the Moorfields services at our 30 other sites, these will be considered as part of a wider review of ophthalmology services across London by the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan team.

Would care be disrupted during the move?
Although the physical move would be some years away, we plan to offer all services throughout the move process. We would work with staff, patients and local people to minimise disruption and do not envisage closing services because of the move.
How much would the new centre cost and who would pay for it?
The cost to the NHS would be around £344m which would come from:

  • the sale of the City Road site
  • donors to Moorfields Eye Charity
  • central government funding
  • funds from Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

We have looked in detail at the next 10 years, ie the development and first few years of use of the new centre, and found that this option will be cheaper than improving the existing site.

Why do we need a consultation?
When a healthcare provider is proposing to adjust its services, such as moving to a new location, it is required to undertake a public consultation. This should be designed in such a way that the experiences of patients and those close to them are at the heart of the decisions subsequently made, to ensure that they are in their best interests.

As well as patients and carers, we hope that staff, local residents and interested organisations will take part in the public consultation.

What are the next steps?
  • Taking into account your views, as well as other evidence for service change and value for public money, commissioners (led by Camden CCG and NHS London Specialised Commissioning) will decide during the winter of 2019/2020 whether the proposed move of Moorfields’ services from City Road should proceed to the next stage of planning.
  • This requires the commissioners’ approval of a comprehensive decision-making business case.
  • If the decision-making business case were approved, then Moorfields Eye Hospital and its partners would continue to plan the new centre during 2020, including making a planning application to the relevant local authority.
  • If further more detailed plans were approved during 2020/21, we would hope to begin construction in 2022 with the new facility potentially open to patients by 2025/26.
When do you hope to move?
If approved, our current proposals would see construction beginning around 2022 with the new facility open to patients by 2025/26.
Where can I get more information?
If you have a specific question relating to Oriel please fill out the contact form and a member of the Oriel team will get back to you.

You can also contact the project team directly for more information at moorfields.oriel@nhs.net or by calling 020 7521 4684. If you provide your contact details you can sign up to receive future updates and information on how to get involved.

Got a question about Oriel? Chat to our virtual Oriel AssistantGot a question about Oriel? Chat to our virtual Oriel Assistant