Specialist sight-saving NHS eye care has been brought to the high street by Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in a new initiative, one of the first of its kind in the UK. Two community eye clinics have been opened in North and South Manchester as part of a ground-breaking approach to deliver high quality hospital expertise for patients closer to where they live.
The new community eye clinics are located in the Cheetham Hill shopping centre, North Manchester, and in Wythenshawe civic centre in South Manchester. Both clinics have been purpose-designed to provide high quality eye care, with a primary focus towards patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible sight loss in the UK. AMD has a dry form and a wet form, the wet form being the more aggressive. Previously patients would have lost their sight without treatment.
The initiative is the result of joint working between Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Bayer plc.
2018 is a landmark year for macular treatment as it is the 10th anniversary of NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance which approved an eye injection treatment for wet AMD on the NHS. This major breakthrough meant that patients who previously had no effective treatment can now be treated. With treatment, vision can be stabilised in the majority of patients, many of whom experience an improvement in their vision.
These treatments have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of patient around the UK. The demand for macular treatment services has grown hugely over the years. In Manchester, the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital macular service now delivers over 2,500 treatment appointments. This innovative community development will enable MREH to expand its services, and see and treat more patients.
The innovative approach provides a number of benefits to patients:
- Expert high quality NHS care and treatment from Manchester Royal Eye Hospital staff, experienced in treating macular patients
- A convenient local community-based service
- Patient review and treatment within 60 minutes
- Free parking and excellent public transportation links
- High street locations with easy access to shopping and refreshments.
Dr Sajjad Mahmood, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Clinical Lead for Macular Services at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, said: “We have adopted this innovative approach to expand our macular service beyond the main hospital site to keep up with demand and provide more accessible services for patients.
“This development means that we’re able to see more patients in a prompt and timely way so that they gain maximum benefit from treatment to optimise their vision.
“We hope that the prominence and availability of these treatments in community locations will raise awareness of this sight-threatening condition and encourage patients to seek timely treatment.”
Feedback from patients who have started using the new community eye clinics indicates a high level of satisfaction with the new service and being able to get expert treatment in a convenient, easily accessible high street location.
Dr Nitin Jain, Senior Medical Advisor at Bayer, said: “We are proud to partner with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust on a project that has been built on better serving people with retinal conditions in Greater Manchester, providing convenient and prompt access to the highest level of care.”
Opening the clinic, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The new community eye clinics in Manchester are a great example of the NHS providing more local, more personal, and more preventative care. This initiative demonstrates the real progress we’ve made in treating macular degeneration over the last decade.”