Eye Centre celebrates fifth birthday milestone

The Northern General Eye Centre is celebrating its fifth year of operation - having performed over 15,600 cataract operations since first opening on 21 May 2018.

  • Northern General Eye Centre celebrates fifth birthday milestone.
  • The £6.7m centre opened its doors to patients on 21 May 2018, and has performed over 15,600 cataract operations since.
  • The facility has played a leading role in helping to provide NHS cataract surgery, with staff now trained to support the glaucoma and medical retina service.

Staff at the Northern General Eye Centre have held a special celebration event to mark the Centre’s fifth birthday milestone.

The £6.7m centre, which officially opened its doors to patients on 21 May 2018, has played a pivotal role in helping to provide leading NHS cataract surgery in a dedicated, state-of-the-art facility.

Since it opened the Centre has performed over 15,600 operations to remove cataracts, which are estimated to affect 30% of people aged 65 and over. If untreated, cataracts cause significant disruption to everyday life, making it difficult to drive or watch TV, and eventually lead to blindness.

Staff from the centre, including specialist ophthalmic surgeons, hospital optometrists, ophthalmic science practitioners, nurses, training nursing associates, clinical support workers and administrative staff celebrated with balloons and special commemorative speeches, recognising the achievements and efforts of the team over the years. This included the facility’s role in supporting the Covid-19 pandemic and its role in delivering personalised, patient centred care by ensuring patients have all their diagnostic and pre-operative assessments completed in one visit, saving unnecessary repeat trips prior to surgery.

Over the years, clinical staff numbers have grown as has support from other staff groups including administration, optometrists and ophthalmic science practitioners, with more complex cases being taken on as clinics and theatres have increased and training developed. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the staff have also been trained to support the glaucoma and medical retina service.

Sally-Ann Wilkes, 54, who lives in Deepcar, Stocksbridge, and suffers with functional movement disorder seizures, has had numerous eye appointments due to her diabetes, something she used to dread as it normally involves visits to lots of different rooms and she is reliant on a walking frame to get around.

“The Northern General Eye Centre is lovely and spacious. They made it such an easy day for me, having that amount of seizures, it drains the energy out of you, but the nurses helped me 200% and eight months after surgery I can see as if looking through glass, everything is so clear and white.”

Catherine Clay, Matron for the Northern General Eye Centre, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the Centre’s milestone fifth birthday. Over the past five years, we have seen it develop and flourish in many ways, and many staff have developed new roles in the department from learning how to be an assessment nurse to scrubbing and learning how to circulate for theatres procedures. We also underwent big changes through Covid with the introduction of glaucoma surgery which we still continue to support and staff learnt additional skills to support the medical retina injection service. I feel proud and very lucky to still be a part of this amazing team.”

The team paid special tribute to Mr Lee Bower, who was instrumental in the early developments of the Centre and originally managed its operations until he sadly passed in 2020, and Mark Stone, who supported the team’s educational programme, and sadly passed in 2019. 

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