The Royal Eye Unit (REU) provides a comprehensive hospital eye care service to the local population including an acute referral service for ophthalmic emergencies and eye trauma, Monday to Friday during normal working hours.

Built in 1995, it no longer meets the changing needs of the local population. Sight loss is closely linked to ageing and Kingston and Richmond are two of the five boroughs with the highest life expectancy in the country. This ageing population coupled with technological advances and clinical innovations has led to a significant increase in patients who need continued treatment throughout their lifetimes.

Designed as a generic outpatient service, the physical layout of the REU combined with the growing demand for its services has led to deterioration in the patient experience. The current layout is also negatively impacting on the team’s ability to deliver a consistently efficient and modern service, as it is not designed to support current ophthalmology pathways, which should be more streamlined and offer higher degrees of productivity and effectiveness.

There is now an urgent need to extend the REU’s existing footprint to create the space needed for a dedicated medical retina unit to support the growing numbers of older patients with AMD. This new self-contained facility will double the existing capacity to provide an additional five consulting/ examination rooms, plus four injection rooms. There will also be additional scanning facilities, vision lanes and a dedicated waiting area.

Expanding the REU will achieve a number of significant benefits, including: managing the increasing demand from an ageing population; creating an environment that meets the needs of all its users – clinical staff, patients and their families/ carers; improving the patient experience by developing a design that better meets their needs; and delivering significant clinical efficiencies, reducing wait times for first and follow-up appointments, as well as in clinic by ensuring the patient journey is much smoother and less stressful.

Please click here to hear from Hooman Sherafat, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Clinical Lead, on the case for expanding the Royal Eye Unit.