Eye surgery waiting times for Ipswich and the wider county are set to be significantly reduced with the opening of a new eye health clinic and surgical centre.
Newmedica Ipswich offers treatments for a range of eye conditions including cataract surgery and YAG laser. Patients can be referred for NHS treatment or self-refer for private consultations. This will help to ease the pressure on local NHS waiting lists, which have come under additional pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newmedica is one of England’s leading independent providers of NHS-funded ophthalmology services, and the state-of-the-art facility is being run by three directors with close links to local health services in Suffolk. Newmedica’s vision is a society where everyone can get access to free or affordable world class treatment for advanced eye conditions without any unnecessary delay or worry.
The ophthalmology clinical directors at Newmedica Ipswich, Raj Hanspal and Usman Hussain, are both highly-qualified and experienced ophthalmology consultants and are well-known from their work at West Suffolk Hospital. They are joined by operational director Rosemary Smith. The trio met while working at the same hospital in Bury St Edmunds and decided to open the centre together, offering patients more choice in where they can receive NHS and private treatments.
One patient who has already experienced the safe and efficient service offered by the clinicians at the clinic and surgical centre is local woman Kathleen Johnson-Cooper. Sadly, Kathleen lost her husband in May, and had been feeling especially isolated during lockdown because she had been unable to drive while awaiting cataract surgery.
She said: ‘Mr Hanspal was my surgeon, and he and his team were fantastic throughout. Before my surgery I was bumping into things a lot at home and was constantly bruising my arms, so to be able to see so much better is wonderful. I love the roses in my garden and am looking forward to seeing them bloom again now as the colours will be so much more beautiful.
‘The operation was not anything to be frightened of, and it did not hurt at all. The team really put me at ease and I could not believe how quick it was. I am looking forward to getting my other eye done.’
The eye health clinic and surgical centre is based at London House on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich. Patients can be referred by their optician, GP, or other medical professional for NHS treatment.
Rosemary said: ‘We are delighted to be open and are ready and waiting to serve the people of Suffolk. We know that the pressure placed on the health service by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to people waiting far longer than they ideally should have for treatment, and we are pleased to be able to alleviate some of the burden on local NHS services.
‘Given the fact that the virus is sadly still with us, we have adopted even more stringent measures to protect our patients and staff than we would have done in the past. We want to reassure everyone thinking of using our services, or referring a patient to us, that we are doing all that we can to provide a safe and efficient experience which should lead to a better quality of life.’
The eye health clinic and surgical centre is following all current Government guidelines in order to keep patients and staff safe, and enhanced safety measures will be in place to give added reassurance to those being treated and their families.
The team will carry out telephone consultations wherever possible, but if patients are asked to attend the surgical centre then all patients will be questioned about their health and proximity to anyone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. Patients who will need to attend theatre will be asked to self-isolate prior to their procedure, in accordance with NHS guidance.
On the day of surgery, patients are asked to remain in their car until called into the clinic where they will be met with the clinical team in the required PPE. All necessary diagnostic tests are undertaken using state of the art equipment and, if possible, are completed on the same day as any necessary procedures or surgery to reduce the number of face-to-face attendances required. All this will be explained to patients prior to their appointment.
The surgical centre is easy to find with clear signage, visible from the road. There is free patient parking on site and the centre is fully wheelchair accessible to patients.
Further information about the services and treatments available can be found on the Newmedica website: www.newmedica.co.uk.