Hospital opens £1.2m eye operation theatre to cut waiting times

The theatre will carry out 1,200 cataract operations a year

The theatre will carry out 1,200 cataract operations a year - Credit: JPUH

A new ophthalmology theatre has opened at the James Paget University Hospital which will result in an extra 1,200 cataract operations being performed.

The £1.2m theatre started treating its first patients this week and is the Gorleston hospital’s second dedicated ophthalmology theatre.

It will also perform other eye treatment procedures such as glaucoma operations and will help reduce waiting times as part of an NHS improvement plan.

It is estimated the new theatre will result in more than 1,200 additional cataract operations per year at a time when the NHS locally and nationally is focused on reducing waiting lists generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A £1.2m ophthalmology theatre has been opened at the James Paget University Hospital

A £1.2m ophthalmology theatre has been opened at the James Paget University Hospital - Credit: JPUH

Head of ophthalmology, Muhammad Raja, said: “The opening of the new theatre is great news for both patients and staff.

"We aim to be one of the best eye units in the country and the new facility features the latest surgical technology.

“The theatre is configured for multi-specialty eyecare delivery including cataract operations, which will improve efficiency and ensure significantly reduced waiting list times at a time of great need due to Covid-related pressures.”

“Having a second theatre also gives us additional flexibility so that we can conduct urgent operations while minimizing cancellation of routine patients.

Most Read

“We hope to see the start of an on-going reduction in patient waiting times for cataract surgery within the next few months.”

A team of new doctors, ward and theatre staff have been recruited to operate the unit, which has been constructed in an unused treatment room and office space.

In addition, the latest equipment has been installed in the main ophthalmology theatre, including a Zeiss Artevo 800 digital heads-up 3D 4K ophthalmic operating microscope.

The new ophthalmology theatre will help cut waiting lists at the James Paget University Hospital

The new ophthalmology theatre will help cut waiting lists at the James Paget University Hospital - Credit: JPUH

It is the first of its kind to be installed in an East Anglian NHS acute hospital and provides a stereoscopic 3D image on a 55” 4K monitor to assist consultants during surgery.

Creating the theatre cost £1.2m, with the money coming from a Department of Health and Social Care targeted investment fund to help increase capacity and tackle waiting lists.

The project was overseen by Maria Harrison, divisional operations manager for the division of surgery, women and children’s services.

She said: “It has been a long-held ambition of the ophthalmology team to have a second theatre, which we hope will help us attract more specialists to the region."