Plans to create a new state-of-the-art £36m eye hospital in Sunderland have been given the go-ahead by Sunderland City Council
The plans for the hospital have been developed by Sunderland City Council, alongside North East architects Ryder and Turner & Townsend Project Management.
The hospital will replace the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary facilities on Queen Alexandra Road which are now over 75 years old.
The new facility means that Sunderland will remain home to the region’s only dedicated standalone eye hospital, and one of few specialist centres for ophthalmology care in the NHS.
Plans for the hospital contained the views of patients and members of the public across the region, as well as The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), following an extensive patient and public involvement process led by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
All clinical services currently provided from the existing Sunderland eye infirmary will transfer to the new facility and will be delivered from a modern, purpose-built environment in an accessible city centre location.
The hospital will continue to be home to the Regional Cataract Treatment Centre and will strengthen Sunderland’s existing reputation across the NHS as a centre of excellence for eye services, caring for patients from across the North East, Cumbria, and beyond.
‘Innovative facility providing the highest-standard of care’
Ken Bremner, chief executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, 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 to see our new eye hospital take shape, we will continue to involve people to make sure the building meets to needs of everyone who will use it.”
‘A world-class urban quarter’
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, commented: “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.”
On-site work is expected to begin in spring 2022 and the facility is anticipated to open in 2024.