Success as sight-saving eye clinics provide more than 10,000 treatments in the first year

News posted 30 May, 2019

Specialist sight-saving NHS community eye clinics in North and South Manchester have provided more than 10,000 additional treatment appointments to patients in their first year of opening, and remain the first in the country to offer this type of treatment in the heart of the community.

The clinics were brought to the high street in May 2018 by the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) in a drive to deliver high quality hospital expertise for patients closer to where they live.

The success of the community eye clinics follows the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) Outstanding result for the MREH, announced in March, which is the first eye hospital in the UK to receive this rating.

The clinics have since created more than 10,000 additional appointments per year for patients. The demand for macular treatment services has grown hugely over the years and in Greater Manchester, the service now delivers a total of 1800 treatment appointments per month across the hospital and community sites.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the central part of your vision and usually first affects people in their 50s and 60s. As the disease worsens it can cause great difficulty with everyday activities such as reading, recognising faces and in some cases, severe vision loss and blind registration.

The clinics provide high quality eye care, with a primary focus towards patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible sight loss in the UK. Previously patients would have lost their sight without treatment, which includes regular eye injections to stabilise vision.

John Ashcroft, Chief Executive at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital said: “The community clinics have been a great success in their first year of opening and have enabled us to keep up with patient demand by providing an additional 10,000 appointments per year.

“Expanding our services has proved invaluable for our patients and our community eye clinics still remain amongst the first in the country to offer this level of treatment, in the heart of the community. We hope that the prominence and availability of these treatments will continue to raise awareness of this condition and will encourage patients to seek timely treatment. This model of care has raised interest in other cities around the UK who hope to emulate the community centres.

“The feedback we have received so far from patients has been very positive with the ‘Friends and Family’ test scores consistently reaching a 98% satisfaction rating – which is a real testament to the teams that are working incredibly hard to deliver these services across the sites.”

Due to the nature of the services offered at the community clinics, it is very important that treatment is given on time. The extra capacities these clinics have provided have ensured that more than 90% of patients are reviewed on or within a week of their required appointment.

The community eye clinics are located in the Cheetham Hill shopping centre, North Manchester, and in Wythenshawe Civic Centre in South Manchester.

The Manchester Royal Eye Hospital are also developing a new purpose-built area at Trafford General Hospital, also managed by MFT, in which to treat people from the surrounding area who require regular injections for AMD. The sight-saving centre, which is due to open its doors later in 2019, will contain six consulting rooms and an imaging suite.

John added: “AMD is one of the most treatable eye conditions and if managed well does not lead to blindness. However, it does often involves frequent, monthly appointments so this new unit at Trafford, highlights a continuing investment in care closer to patients’ homes, helping to improve their experience.”

The community eye clinics provide 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