London commissioners have approved proposals to build a new eye hospital and research centre in the north of the city.

Moorfields Eye Hospital Foundation Trust plans to move its main hospital from its current City Road site to St Pancras Hospital in the London borough of Camden.

The plans have now been approved by a committee of the 14 clinical commissioning groups which commission work from the trust, having earlier been approved by NHS England specialised commissioning earlier this month. 

The scheme, called Project Oriel, is a joint project by the trust, its charity — Moorfields Eye Charity — and University College London.

Construction for the new Moorfields centre in St Pancras is now slated to start in 2022 with services operational in 2025-26. 

The move is estimated to cost £352m, which will be raised from a fundraising campaign by the trust’s charity, internal capital, some funding from the centre, and the proceeds of selling the City Road site. In 2018, the City Road site was estimated to be worth £164m.

Commissioners also announced their intentions to establish a London ophthalmology collaborative “to progress system-wide service redesign of ophthalmology services across London”.

It is hoped this collaborative could cut the growth in activity at the new hospital. Modelling of a potential new model of care estimated average growth of outpatient activity could be cut from 3.1 per cent to 2.3 per cent a year. Growth in emergency activity could be cut from 2.9 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

By remodelling the care pathways, the trust and commissioners hope to reduce activity at the hospital by carrying it out either virtually, or in different settings closer to home.


HSJ Strategic Estates Forum

The HSJ Strategic Estates Forum, now in its 3rd year, takes place in London on 12 March 2020. This is a high level strategic forum that brings together estates directors, sustainability and transformation partnership estates leads and trust board leaders responsible for the estates function who are developing strategic plans for their organisations and local health economies. The focus of the forum is on issues such as availability of and access to capital, tackling backlog maintenance, utilisation of the estate and role of technology in infrastructure development. The forum builds on the Naylor Report and highly anticipated 2019 spending review.

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