A NEW purpose-built centre of excellence for eye care is being launched next week.

The ophthalmology department opening in Shoreham will provide access to some of the best assessment and surgical facilities in the country.

Western Sussex Eye Care Southlands is a new service being launched at the hospital following a multi-million-pound investment by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Chief executive Marianne Griffith said: “Last year our trust was rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and we remain one of only five acute hospital trusts in the country to be awarded the health watchdog’s highest rating.

“This opening is another service where we will excel for our patients and provide them with some of the very best-quality care in the country.”

Up to 3,000 patients a month will visit the new unit for assessment or treatment and more than 50 eye care specialists, including ophthalmic surgeons and nurses, optometrists, orthoptists and support staff, will work there.

Consultant ophthalmologist Masoud Teimory said: “This will offer access to some of the best ophthalmic assessment and surgical facilities in the country, matching our other excellent facility at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

“We are confident that the impressive range of clinical skills, combined with the latest technology and clinical facilities, together with our ambitions for training future surgeons, will propel this as a new clinical centre of excellence in the UK.”

The state-of-the-art building has been designed to be accessibility friendly and is all at ground level.

The eye unit has its own main entrance on the west side of Southlands Hospital with access off the Upper Brighton Road.

The first phase of works to increase the number of car parking spaces available at Southlands Hospital has been completed and works are continuing in a phased way to deliver a 60 per cent increase in the total number of spaces by December.

The ophthalmology department at Worthing Hospital will close and relocates to Shoreham.

From Friday, eye care clinics and operations will no longer take place at Worthing Hospital but patients can ask to be treated at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester if they prefer.

Mr Teimory said: “Moving our ophthalmology service from Worthing Hospital to more spacious and modern surroundings at Southlands Hospital provides our patients with a more comfortable experience as well as enhanced clinical care.”

More than 1,000 patients a week already attend Southlands Hospital.