Plans for Oriel, a new state-of-the-art eye care, research and education centre, have been given the green light.
The joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity, which will see services move to a brand-new integrated centre on the site of St Pancras Hospital, has now been given final NHS and government approval.
This significant milestone is the final step before construction starts in 2023 and it follows Camden Council granting full planning permission for the centre in August. The preferred contractor for the project, Bouygues UK, has developed a full construction programme with the building due to open in 2027.
The new centre – part of the New Hospital Programme, the biggest hospital building programme in a generation – will harness the expertise of the partners under one roof and will enable closer collaborative working between clinicians and researchers to speed up the delivery of the highest quality treatments and therapies for patients.
Tessa Green, Moorfields chairman, said: “This is an extraordinarily exciting moment for Moorfields. Thank you to our teams, our partners, our patients, our donors and our stakeholders. Your patience, determination and dedication over 10 years to the vision for Oriel has progressed it this far. I am so very proud of what we have together achieved and look forward to seeing Oriel built and open its doors to patients.”
UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence AC said: “This decision is a vital step forward for an incredibly exciting project that will bring together UCL’s formidable research base with Moorfields’ world-class healthcare delivery in a way that results in major academic and clinical benefits for people living with sight loss throughout the UK and across the world.”
Martin Kuper, Moorfields chief executive, said: “This is the final approval we have been waiting for, turning Oriel from a proposal into a reality. Our next step will be to start construction work in the new year to build our world-leading centre, which will support our reputation for excellence and our ability to deliver outstanding care for our patients.”
Professor Alan Thompson, dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said: “I am absolutely delighted that our exciting plans for Oriel have been given the regulatory seal of approval. Oriel will allow us to drive forward the improvements to support our work in the long-term and strengthen our partnership with Moorfields in delivering real benefits for patients. This next phase of the project is exciting as we start building the Centre that will enable more collaborative and innovative working.”
Robert Dufton, Moorfields Eye Charity chief executive, said: This is a real moment of celebration for us all. We’ve been working in partnership with our generous donors because philanthropy has a vital role in securing the future of eye health on a global scale. We believe the new centre is going to provide patients, who are at the heart of everything we do, with the best treatments, faster.”
The new centre will be located in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, an internationally renowned hub for science and innovation. It is close to the UCL Bloomsbury campus and several of our NHS, commercial and charity partners.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I want every patient to have the best possible experience of our healthcare system and part of that is making sure we have the hospitals to deliver it. This government’s manifesto commitment will see us deliver the most ambitious hospital building programme in a generation, helping us to provide world-class healthcare.
Working towards this goal, plans for a new state of the art eye care centre have been approved which will see vast improvement in treatment times, with the typical glaucoma appointment already set to be cut from 90 to 60 minutes. These new facilities, supported by over £500m of investment, will mean more people can be seen and help cut backlogs. By 2031/32, it is expected to deliver over a million appointments and procedures a year.
The building itself will offer all appointments in closed rooms, giving patients the privacy they deserve, and the latest technology will be utilised to help the visually impaired throughout their hospital trips. Investing in our hospital programme will transform lives for decades to come with patients getting access to facilities designed to deal with complex needs and procedures.”
Natalie Forrest, Senior Responsible Owner for the New Hospital Programme, said: “This state-of-the-art facility will transform eye care and health for people across the country and I’m delighted that Oriel has today been granted approval to move forward, enabling construction to start. This funding will enable the team to further improve the outstanding care they provide, offering a modern environment for clinical and non-clinical staff, patients, and visitors.
“Oriel is an early phase scheme as part of the New Hospital Programme, which marks a step-change in how we design and build new hospital facilities. By working together and taking a collaborative and forward-thinking approach we can help the country to deliver modern healthcare environments, faster, and to the highest standards.”
For more information about Oriel, the construction programme and upcoming milestones please visit www.oriel-london.org.uk
Notes to editors
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the leading providers of eye health services in the UK and a world class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. Our main focus is the treatment and care of NHS patients with a wide range of eye problems, from common complaints to rare conditions that require treatment not available elsewhere in the UK. Our unique patient case-mix and the number of people we treat mean that our clinicians have expertise in discrete ophthalmic sub-specialties.
In 2017/18, we received over 740,000 visits from patients to our outpatient, inpatient and A&E services, making Moorfields the largest eye care provider in the UK.
We treat people in 32 locations in and around London, the south east and Bedford, enabling us to provide expert treatment closer to patients’ homes. We also operate commercial divisions that provide care to private patients in both London and the Middle East.
With our academic partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields is recognised as a leading centre of excellence in eye and vision research. Together we form one of the largest ophthalmic research sites in the world, with the largest patient population in Europe or the USA. We publish more scientific papers than any other eye and vision research site and have an extensive joint research portfolio.
National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology was established in April 2007 and has recently been awarded a fourth five-year term by the NIHR. Its purpose is to conduct ‘translational research’ that is designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs. It is the only NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to eye and vision research and strives to benefit patients and the NHS. The centre’s broad spectrum of research into eye disease enables patients to benefit more quickly from world-class scientific breakthroughs, treatments and diagnostics, and has demonstrated a wider reach into other health conditions through digital technology and advanced therapies. For further information, please visit https://www.moorfieldsbrc.nihr.ac.uk/.
UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of a number of specialised research centres within UCL (University College London) and is, together with Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of the leading centres for eye research worldwide. The combination of the Institute’s research resource with the resources of Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has the largest ophthalmic patient population in the Western World, opens the way for advances at the forefront of vision research. For further information, please visit www.ucl.ac.uk.
UCL – London’s Global University – is a diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry links, external partners, and alumni. Our powerful collective of individuals and institutions work together to explore new possibilities. Since 1826, we have championed independent thought by attracting and nurturing the world’s best minds. Our community of more than 43,800 students from 150 countries and over 14,300 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems.
We are consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world and are one of only a handful of institutions rated as having the strongest academic reputation and the broadest research impact.
We have a progressive and integrated approach to our teaching and research – championing innovation, creativity and cross-disciplinary working. We teach our students how to think, not what to think, and see them as partners, collaborators and contributors.
For almost 200 years, we are proud to have opened higher education to students from a wide range of backgrounds and to change the way we create and share knowledge.
We were the first in England to welcome women to university education and that courageous attitude and disruptive spirit is still alive today. We are UCL.
Moorfields Eye Charity supports the work of Moorfields Eye Hospital and its research partner, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, making a difference for patients at the hospital and for people with sight problems around the world. It provides grants and raises money to help the hospital provide the best possible care for its patients, educate the researchers and clinicians of tomorrow and support cutting-edge research that aims to develop new treatments for blinding diseases. Philanthropy will be critical to the realisation of these ambitious plans and we’re pleased with the level of interest so far. To find out more go to: www.moorfieldseyecharity.org.uk
About the New Hospital Programme
The New Hospital Programme is the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, creating world-class health facilities through innovation and collaboration.
The programme will deliver 48 hospitals by 2030. This includes 8 previously announced schemes and 32 confirmed new schemes. We are currently reviewing expressions of interest for 8 additional schemes.
5 are currently in construction and 2 have now reached completion – The Northern Centre for Cancer Care in North Cumbria, which opened in August 2021, and Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust, which opened in October 2022.
Replacing outdated infrastructure with modern, innovation and environmentally sustainable buildings, the programme will lay the foundation for intelligent systems, driving innovation and investment in new diagnostics to provide top-class healthcare services and facilities for patients, staff, and local communities.
Part of the wider Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP), a long-term, rolling programme of strategic investment in health and care buildings, estates and equipment, the New Hospital Programme is a joint venture between the Department of Health & Social Care and NHS England.
Working with NHS Trusts, Government, and industry, our centralised programme’s mission is to:
• Help NHS Trusts to provide high-quality, sustainable care for patients
• Deliver intelligent hospitals
• Develop national capability
• Build better, build faster, and build a sustainable legacy
For further information, please visit: www.moorfields.nhs.uk