The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

New £8.5m purpose-built eye clinic opens at St James’s Hospital

15 December 2022

 Eye dept 6A newly-designed clinic space has opened at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds providing a new home for the Ophthalmology outpatients department.

The purpose-built department cost £8.5m and follows months of planning and consultation with patients to ensure the needs of partially-sighted visitors are met with the new design and layout.

The new department, which opened on Monday, 12 December, is situated in Gledhow wing, a short walk from the old location of the department in Chancellor’s wing.

The new clinic space provides significant improvements over the old location, including larger rooms, improved access and clearer wayfinding – all designed with the needs of visually-impaired patients in mind.

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), said: “This is an exciting moment for what is our largest outpatient department in Leeds. We see a significant number of eye patients every week and this purpose-built environment will provide a setting that is both cutting-edge in its design and sympathetic to the needs of visually-impaired patients.”

The 2,500 square metre facility features 108 rooms, including consultation rooms, central diagnostic rooms, a refractive unit, as well as a virtual clinic room.

Ophthalmology is the largest outpatient department at LTHT treating over 100,000 patients per year. The new location is optimised for patient care and will help support the reduction of the Ophthalmology outpatient backlog as a result of the pandemic.

Eye clinic 1Jonathan Bilmen, Clinical Director of Head and Neck services at LTHT, said: “I’m really proud to see the completion of this state-of-the-art facility which will massively improve patient care in Ophthalmology outpatients. This is the culmination of an £8.5m investment and a huge amount of planning and multidisciplinary input to ensure we deliver the best in care. I want thank all our clinical and non-clinical teams, patient groups, capital planning, and our contractors, who have worked together to get us to this point.”

Patient needs were a key priority for the department planners, with engagement with members of the patient panel early on in the process to establish what patients would find most beneficial from in the new unit.

Jonathan added: “Accessibility has been really important to us, and we have worked closely alongside our patient panel to incorporate features that will help visually-impaired patients throughout the department, including different coloured waiting areas and easily identifiable zones.”

An emphasis on designing wide corridors with lots of natural light has ensured the new department is easy to navigate for its patients.

Wall art included in the new department displays familiar Yorkshire scenes, creating a pleasant environment inspired by nearby countryside, as well as providing further wayfinding ques for visitors.

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