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Eye care facilities expand at Cheltenham General Hospital


Ophthalmology patients across the county will benefit from a newly refurbished Fairview Outpatient Department (OPD) from Tuesday 31st May 2016. This expansion marks the start of an exciting new chapter for eye care services at Cheltenham General Hospital where a renovated ward has been transformed into a modern out-patient clinic facility.

The new state-of-the-art facilities have been funded through a two year joint working agreement between Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT) and Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd. The renovation has also been supported through charitable funding from the Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust (GETT). GETT have purchased cutting-edge imaging equipment which is used in the diagnosis and management of many retinal conditions and glaucoma, along with an enhanced comfortable and contemporary waiting-room facility.

Careful thought and planning went into the specific design requirements of this facility to create a light, spacious and comfortable environment for patients and staff, with particular emphasis on accessibility, patient flow throughout the clinic and improving patient experience, particularly for those who are visually impaired.

As Speciality Director and Ophthalmology Consultant Professor Andy McNaught explains, the new Fairview OPD is a dramatic improvement on the previous layout:

“This impressive new development greatly increases the capacity of the Ophthalmology service across Gloucestershire as a whole. We will be now much better placed to provide the level of service expected by our patients, and will be better placed to offer the full range of modern diagnostic tests and treatments for eye conditions in more efficient and comfortable surroundings.”

MD and Chief Scientific Officer at Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd Dimitrios Georgiopoulos added: “This partnership is part of our ongoing commitment at Novartis to working with the NHS to understand and address the challenges facing eye care services across the UK. By working closely with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we hope to develop a redesigned Outpatient Department that delivers greater accessibility and outcomes for patients, increases capacity and provides more efficient use of resources.”

Countywide Head of Optometry and Orthoptics Lisa Collins was part of a team who contributed to the planning of the project. She worked alongside Consultant Ophthalmologist Rob Johnston to secure a suitable environment, giving additional space and using high-tech equipment for the delivery of high-quality, patient centred care. Thanks to Rob’s dedication and ‘vision’, a small team from within ophthalmology have helped to realise this goal. Lisa added:

“I speak for all members of the ophthalmology team, who have dedicated their time, energy and expertise in achieving this goal. The newly renovated Fairview Out-Patient Department is a fantastic facility which is now nearing completion and will allow us to give excellent, compassionate care to many people in the county who are diagnosed with sight-threatening conditions.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all three partners, Novartis, GETT and our Trust for making this significant investment that secures the future of eye care services at Cheltenham General Hospital for many years ahead.”

The official opening will take place on Tuesday 4th October 2016 with local dignitaries.