St Richard’s Hospital can look to a brighter future thanks to the opening of a brand-new eye unit.
Thousands of eye patients will now have access to the new ophthalmology outpatient unit based at St Richard’s.
The new facility is a significant step forwards in the bid to build a centre of excellence for eye treatment in West Sussex.
It will provide patients with a much-improved environment and significantly-enhanced levels of privacy and dignity.
The new unit boasts 12 individual consulting rooms, two laser rooms, two imaging rooms and a treatment room for patients where minor procedures can be performed.
There is also a recovery room, a separate waiting area for children and an area dedicated to orthopic care.
Mr Masoud Teimory, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “ This new facility will transform the experience of our patients.
“Our old outpatient department was no longer up to the standard we would want for our patients, but the new unit is superb.
“We are building a centre of excellence in ophthalmology at the trust and opening this department takes us a significant step nearer to fulfilling that ambition.
“Our ultimate aim is to create an environment where teaching and innovation can thrive – this new department transforms the service we are able to provide today, but it also offers the chance to improve our services still further in the future.
“It is fantastic news for our patients.”
Eye care at St Richard’s has been transformed in less than two years. In November 2012 the first patients were treated at the hospital’s Eye Day Surgery Unit, offering treatments including cataract and lid surgery, and the latest development completes the revolution in care.
The new surgical and outpatients facilities mean fewer people will face a journey of travelling to Worthing for their appointments.
In 2011/12 there were 17,500 ophthalmology outpatient attendances at St Richard’s.
That number is now expected to climb towards 26,000 a year with tests such as cornea mapping and laser imaging of the eye now available.
The Friends of Chichester Hospitals have donated £150,000 towards the initial equipping of the unit, and will work with the trust to raise more money through a fundraising campaign, expected to be launched in the autumn.
The Friends also supported the Eye Day Surgery Unit with funding of more than £360,000.
Jane Ramage, chairman of the Friends of Chichester Hospitals, said: “The Friends have been delighted by the benefits already brought to patients by the new Eye Day Surgery Unit, and are very pleased that the outpatient experience will now also be significantly improved by the provision of these state-of the-art facilities.
“Eye care is vital to health and quality of life and is an important investment in services for patients in the community served by St Richard’s.
“We have received enormous support for our funding of the equipment for eye surgery, and will be working hard to raise the money needed to complete the outpatient clinic’s facilities.”