Plans for new Sunderland Eye Hospital gain approval

Sunderland City Council has given plans to build a new purpose-built facility the go ahead

Sunderland Eye Hospital CGI

Plans to create a new eye hospital in Sunderland have been approved by Sunderland City Council’s planning committee.

The new eye hospital will replace the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary facilities on Queen Alexandra Road, which are more than 75 years old. 

All clinical services provided in the current location will be transferred to the new purpose-built facility, which will be built in a more accessible city centre location. The new facilities will also continue to house the Regional Cataract Treatment Centre.

The planning application for the new £36m NHS facility was submitted over the summer and approved on 1 November. It is anticipated that work could begin on the new site in spring 2022, following the announcement of a preferred contractor, with plans to open the new eye hospital in 2024.

Ken Bremner, chief executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the “step forward” for the hospital plans, adding: “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.”

Plans for the new eye hospital took on board views from patients and members of the public from across the region, and The Royal National Institute of Blind People, following a patient and public involvement process led by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Bremner continued: “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.”

Sunderland’s new hospital will remain the region’s only dedicated standalone eye hospital and one of few specialist centres of ophthalmology care in the NHS, the Trust suggested.

The plans for the hospital were developed by the Council with a team including Ryder Architects and Turner & Townsend Project Management.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, commented: “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.”