The joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and Moorfields Eye Charity, which will see services move to a -new integrated centre on the St Pancras Hospital site, has now been given final NHS and government approval. The project partners say this ‘significant milestone’ – which follows Camden Council’s granting of full planning permission in August – is the final step before construction begins next year. The preferred contractor for the project, Bouygues UK, has developed a full construction programme, with the building due to open in 2027.
The new centre – part of the New Hospital Programme – will harness the expertise of the partners under one roof, and enable closer collaborative working between clinicians and researchers ‘to speed up the delivery of the highest quality treatments and therapies for patients’.
Tessa Green, Moorfields’ Chairman, said: “This is an extraordinarily exciting moment for Moorfields. Thank you to our teams, our partners, our patients, our donors, and our stakeholders. Your patience, determination, and dedication, over 10 years to the vision for Oriel has progressed it this far. I am so very proud of what we have achieved together, and look forward to seeing Oriel built and opening its doors to patients.”
UCL President and Provost Dr Michael Spence AC, said: “This decision is a vital step forward for an incredibly exciting project that will bring together UCL’s formidable research base with Moorfields’ world-class healthcare delivery in a way that results in major academic and clinical benefits for people living with sight loss throughout the UK and across the world.”
Martin Kuper, Moorfields’ CEO, said: “This is the final approval we have been waiting for, turning Oriel from a proposal into a reality. Our next step will be to start construction work in the new year to build our world-leading centre, which will support our reputation for excellence, and our ability to deliver outstanding care for our patients.”
The new centre will be located in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, ‘an internationally renowned hub for science and innovation’ close to the UCL Bloomsbury campus. Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “This government’s manifesto commitment will see us deliver the most ambitious hospital building programme in a generation, helping us to provide world-class healthcare. Working towards this goal, plans for a new state-of-the-art eye care centre have been approved, which will see vast improvement in treatment times, with the typical glaucoma appointment already set to be cut from 90 to 60 minutes. These new facilities, supported by over £500 m of investment, will mean that more people can be seen, and help cut backlogs. By 2031/32, the new Centre is expected to deliver over a million appointments and procedures a year.”