New ophthalmology clinic opens at St James's Hospital in Leeds

Patients were consulted through the planning of the £8.5 million purpose-built clinic to ensure the needs of partially-sighted visitors would be met

Leeds Teaching Hospital eye department
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

St James’s University Hospital in Leeds has celebrated the opening of a new ophthalmology outpatient department.

The purpose-built department cost £8.5 million and opened on 12 December.

The new clinic space provides larger rooms, compared to the previous location, as well as improved access and clearer wayfinding.

The department was planned in consultation with patients to ensure the needs of partially-sighted visitors were met in the new layout.

The 2500 square metre facility features 108 rooms, including consultation rooms, central diagnostic rooms, a refractive unit, and virtual clinic room.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust eye clinic
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Ophthalmology is the largest outpatient department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), treating over 100,000 patients per year.

Craige Richardson, director of estates and facilities at LTHT, explained: “We see a significant number of eye patients every week and this purpose-built environment will provide a setting that is both cutting-edge in its design and sympathetic to the needs of visually-impaired patients.”

Describing the “huge amount of planning and multidisciplinary input” that went into the new department, clinical director of head and neck services at LTHT, Jonathan Bilmen, said: “I’m really proud to see the completion of this state-of-the-art facility which will massively improve patient care in ophthalmology outpatients.”

He added: “Accessibility has been really important to us and we have worked closely alongside our patient panel to incorporate features that will help visually-impaired patients throughout the department, including different coloured waiting areas and easily identifiable zones.”

The department has been designed with wide corridors and natural light, for easier navigation, while wall art displays Yorkshire scenes and can also provide further wayfinding cues for visitors.