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Moorfields to move in NHS ‘property chain’

£100m project hinges on Whittington beds transfer

14 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot

£100 MILLION package to move Moorfields Hospital out of its historic base and onto a new site at St Pancras has been given the green light by the government – but the project all hinges on the Whittington.

The famous eye hospital in City Road has secured £18million from the Department of Health and Social Care to build a new centre at St Pancras Hospital.

The project, called Oriel, will see services move out of City Road to a new “integrated eye care, research and education facility” run in partnership with University College London.

As part of the same scheme, mental health authority Camden and Islington Foundation Trust has secured £86million to flatten buildings in St Pancras and move inpatient beds and services to a new base on Whittington land in Archway.

The trust’s move is due to be completed by 2021 so that Moorfields can finish its project by 2024.

Moorfields board papers have warned that delays would lead “to a failure to deliver the project” altogether.

Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition has officially objected to the transfer of services to Archway, saying funding should be spent on increasing bed numbers.

Chairwoman Shirley Franklin said her group welcomed improvements in mental health facilities.

But she added: “We are concerned that this is an area of high mental health need, but with a serious shortage of in-patient beds.

“We are not convinced that these proposals address the shortages.

“We are also not con- vinced that these proposals will offer the amount of community-based pro- fessional care required locally.”

The Whittington has gone into partnership with a firm of architects, Ryder Architecture, to carry forward its estates strategy.

It has not explicitly mentioned the St Pancras move in its board discussions.

Moorfields chief executive David Probert has compared the process to a “house purchase with one long chain”.

He has told the Health Services Journal that the “link with Camden and its move to the Islington site is critical”. The sale of Moorfields’ City Road buildings would help fund its St Pancras project.

Mr Probert added: “We’re very pleased that we have been successful with our bid.

“This is fantastic news and is a really exciting opportunity for us and our plans to design, build and operate a new, integrated eye care, research and education facility with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.”

Moorfields hosted a series of exhibitions showcasing preliminary designs for Oriel last month.

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