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Future of Penoyre & Prasad’s eye centre in doubt

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The future of Penoyre & Prasad’s Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre (RDCEC) is in question as NHS mandarins ramp up their search for a new site for Moorfields Eye Hospital

Moorfields on London’s City Road has a number of satellite buildings and facilities of which the £15.5 million RDCEC, situated just behind the main hospital and linked internally, is one.

The RDCEC which only opened six years ago is the largest hospital in the world solely dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eye disease in children.

Plans to uproot the main hospital were first seriously mooted back in 2011, but now a consensus has been reached that a move to a new £320million plus facility makes financial sense (see AJ 10.01.2013).

A spokesperson at Moorfields confirmed the NHS Foundation was looking at ‘…several options in the King’s Cross/Euston area…’ but she said a ‘definitive site’ had not been earmarked.

‘Identifying a site is a key part of the next phase in the project – expected to last at least 18 months – which will also include a detailed communications plan to ensure that we consult with or inform key individuals and groups,” she said.

Moorfields has a longstanding teaching and research partnership with University College London’s (UCL) nearby Institute of Ophthalmology and in an open statement to staff and students at UCL in April, the institute’s director, Philip Luthert said: ‘We are now going to focus all of our efforts on creating a new building from scratch in partnership with the Hospital that reflects our desire to create a fully integrated and flexible modern facility…’

‘This will be an ambitious project, the overall cost of which we expect to be in the region of £320 million,’ said Luthert.

Penoyre & Prasad director Sunand Prasad told the AJ that he was aware that discussions were underway but he said he had not heard what would happen to the RDCEC which only opened in 2007.

Prasad said: ‘What happens to the existing estate will evolve in due course. So I have no idea what will happen [to the RDCEC].’

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