A consultation to build an innovative eye care and research centre in central London was launched today (Friday 24 May) 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. If approved, it would mean 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.

A new centre will bring clinicians and scientists closer together to optimise 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.

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 realise their full potential.

After the consultation closes on Monday 16 September, commissioners from 14 London and Hertfordshire CCGs, as well as NHS England Specialised Commissioning, will decide whether the proposed move should proceed to the next stage of planning.

If commissioners approve 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 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 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.”

Sarah Mansuralli, Chief Operating Officer of Camden CCG said:

“We are launching the consultation today in partnership with NHSE (Specialised Commissioning) and on behalf of those CCGs across England that commission services at the City Road site.

“We will continue to listen to local people’s views, ideas and any concerns they may have.  A number of meetings and events are planned between now and September where local people can have their say and I would encourage them to do so.”

“Ophthalmology is a clinical speciality where services and care could be provided more efficiently in partnership. Camden Clinical Commissioning Group and all other clinical commissioning groups, are keen to ensure that the opportunities presented from any proposed new purpose-built integrated facility will enable more efficient eye health care.”

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 services from City Road 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.”