Specialist eye hospital is fit for the future

A specialist eye hospital fit for the future will help patients from across the North East continue to receive outstanding care.

Proposals for the new £36 million Eye Hospital in the heart of Sunderland city centre are to go before Sunderland City Council’s planners soon, while the search is on to find a developer for the former Vaux site plot, once permission is granted.

The new Eye Hospital will replace the existing Sunderland Eye Hospital facility on Queen Alexandra Road, which was built more than 75 years ago and no longer fit for purpose.

The plans are part of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s long held ambition to offer patients and colleagues a new hospital reflecting its worldclass treatment, with over 300 staff and all clinical services set to make the move into the new site.

An artist’s impression of how the new eye hospital could look.

Tina Morrell, the Trust’s programme manager, is helping lead the proposals and said: “We are very excited about the plans, which will mean we can welcome our patients to a modern and bright building as they are offered the very best possible care.

“The new hospital will also give our excellent teams a fantastic new place to work, reflecting the world class services they already offer our patients.

“The existing hospital in Queen Alexandra Road is no longer fit for purpose and this new site will fulfil our ambition to provide the region with a building ready to welcome patients for many years to come.”

Sunderland Eye Hospital is one of the few specialist standalone hospitals in the country and the region’s only dedicated centre for ophthalmology care and is home to the Regional Cataract Treatment Centre.

All clinical services will transfer to the new hospital which will have an emergency department on the ground floor along with diagnostic imaging and retinal services, offering easy access for the older patients who commonly use them. The site, which will care for patients from the North East, Cumbria and beyond, will feature 90 visitor parking spaces with seven disabled spaces, electric charging points, a café and shop, pharmacy and a cycle park.

It will be close to a new 650-space multi-storey car park and a short walk from Metro and bus services.

The Trust hopes construction will begin next year with a view to opening the new Eye Hospital in 2024.

An extensive patient and public involvement process saw an overwhelming majority support the plans, hundreds of people offering their views through online sessions and interviews.

- To find out more about the plans visit www.stsft.nhs.uk/neweyehospital.