The latest designs for a new state-of-the-art facility that would bring patient-centred eye care, and cutting-edge research and education expertise under one roof have been unveiled this week.

Oriel is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) and Moorfields Eye Charity. It would see Moorfields and UCL IoO services move from Islington to a purpose-built centre in Camden’s Knowledge Quarter.

Updated images of what the new integrated centre could look like are on display for the first time during National Eye Health Week, an awareness campaign that aims to inspire and educate people on the importance of caring for their eyes.

A programme of public consultation is currently under way so that the views of members of the local community in Camden, Moorfields and UCL staff, patients, carers and representatives of those with sight loss shape the development of the proposed design. A planning application is due to be submitted to Camden Council this autumn.

David Probert, Chief Executive of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Sight loss is an increasing reality for many of us and this week is an ideal time to get people thinking about healthy vision. We really want to hear about what matters most in the provision of eye care alongside the delivery of a world-class research facility.

“Our award-winning team has put the needs of patients, staff, researchers and academics at the heart of what we believe will be an iconic building where exemplary care will be matched by scientific innovation and education.

“I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to get in touch with us and share their views on our proposed designs for this exciting new centre.”

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of eye health, research and education. We’re looking forward to hearing what people think of our proposals so that we design and build a centre that caters for all our users as well as making a positive contribution to the local community in Camden.

The location of the proposed new building is ideally suited to facilitating collaboration with London’s knowledge-based cultural and scientific businesses. As we prepare to submit our planning application, our focus is on making sure we deliver a centre that is accessible, flexible and enables us to undertake ground-breaking research that will translate into real benefit for patients.” 

Robert Dufton, Chief Executive at Moorfields Eye Charity, said:

“We’ve been reaching out to a wide cross-section of society, including our potential neighbours in Camden, so that the design of our building is fit for the people it serves. We welcome feedback that will inform our designs and reflect what people have told us during our consultation.

“Contributions from our generous donors will be instrumental in turning our proposals into reality and we are extremely privileged to be in a position where we can plan for even better eye care and treatment in the future.”

Subject to planning permission, the St Pancras hospital site that is earmarked for the new development will contribute to the invigoration of an area that is already benefitting from ongoing regeneration.

AECOM with Penoyre & Prasad and White Arkitekter were appointed as the design team in January last year. Collectively they have a track record of delivering high-quality healthcare environments across the world.

The proposed new centre would be flexible and modern, enabling the partners to bring together eye care, research and education for the first time, while focusing on patients and attracting the best ophthalmic scientists, educators and clinicians.

If planning permission is approved, the new centre could be open to patients in 2025/26.