Published: 20/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5847 Page 11

Press reports that Western Eye Hospital in London is likely to be shut as a result of changes to the Paddington Basin hospital project in west London have been denied by North West London strategic health authority.

Last week, newspaper reports said the eye hospital was likely to close because of NHS standards which have forced planners to increase accommodation by 17.5 per cent.

In fact, changes - a result of NHS Estates 'consumerism' standards published in 2001 - mean the eye hospital, which would have been closed under original plans, could now be saved.

The Paddington health campus will bring together Royal Brompton and Harefield trust, St Mary's Hospital trust and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine to create a large teaching district general hospital and a centre of excellence in cardiac surgery.

But the project stalled last October when project manager Eric Sorenson stood down as the impact of the consumerism standards became known.

SHA executive director of strategy and planning Steve Peacock said health management consultants Finnemore had been commissioned to review ophthalmology services across north west London and will report in April.

'We are looking at a new offcampus option for ophthalmology, which may mean the service stays at the Western Eye, ' he commented.

He said: 'It is a very complex project; there are not any others like it in this country. We are determined to get it running and make it a success as it will be one of the most exciting projects in the health service.'