New £36m Eye Hospital given the go-ahead following Sunderland City Council meeting

Plans to create a new state-of-the-art Eye Hospital in Sunderland have been given the go ahead by the City Council following today’s (November 1) planning meeting.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 10:02 pm

The new £36m Eye Hospital will replace the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary facilities on Queen Alexandra Road which are now over 75 years old.

The new hospital means Sunderland will remain home to the region’s only dedicated eye hospital and one of very few specialist centres for ophthalmology care in the whole NHS.

In making the decision, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, gathered the views of hundreds of patients and members of the public from across the region, as well as The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

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Feedback was “overwhelmingly positive” and the Trust’s Chief Executive, Ken Bremner MBE, said: “We are delighted to see our ambition to create a world-class eye hospital in Sunderland take this important step forward. This is excellent news for our team at Sunderland Eye Infirmary and for the many patients who access our specialist eye services from across the whole region.

“We could not have got this far without the involvement and feedback from our patients, partners and of course our fantastic staff. Their expertise and input has been invaluable and is helping us to create an innovative facility that will provide the highest standards of care for our patients for generations to come.

“As we move into the next exciting phase and start see our new eye hospital take shape, we will continue to involve people to make sure the building meets the needs of everyone who will use it.”

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Artist's impression of the new Eye Hospital to be built at Riverside Sunderland.

All clinical services currently provided from the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary will transfer to the new facility to be delivered from a modern, purpose-built environment in an accessible city centre location.

The new Eye Hospital will continue to be home to the Regional Cataract Treatment Centre and will strengthen Sunderland’s existing reputation across the NHS, both regionally and nationally, as a centre of excellence for eye services, caring for patients from across the North East, Cumbria and beyond.

Commenting on the decision, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m delighted to see the plans for the new Eye Hospital moving forward, as I know residents will be too.

“Riverside Sunderland is transforming into a world-class urban quarter – the quality of the developments on the site is truly second-to-none, and this hospital will be no exception.

“Our eye hospital is a tremendous asset, and it will soon operate out of a building that reflects this. It’s a fantastic moment for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, for Riverside Sunderland and indeed for residents who can access world-leading care in a building that is fit for purpose.”

The plans for the hospital have been developed by the Council in conjunction with North East architects Ryder and Turner & Townsend Project Management, with the facility set to stand alongside The Beam; City Hall as part of the £100m regeneration of the riverside area,

Work is expected to begin on the facility in spring 2022 with the new Eye Hospital expected to open its doors in 2024.

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