Patients' frustration over delays to new specialist eye hospital

A much-needed replacement for the current Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh could open as late as 2027.

Campaigners say they are frustrated by delays to a new specialist eye hospital in Edinburgh.

The current Eye Pavilion was proposed to be replaced with a new facility in Little France, but patients say they have been waiting far too long for a definitive answer.

Hazel Kelly lives with a number of eye conditions that have limited her sight.

She requires regular hospital attention at the Eye Pavilion, but she says the current building she relies on isn’t fit for purpose.

She said: “Right from the very beginning when I went to the Eye Pavilion for the first time, I felt it was tired; that’s the word I would use.

“It’s got a flat roof and the roof was leaking.

“I’ve had an operation cancelled. Fortunately it wasn’t one of my transplants.

“I remember thinking at the time if that had been one of my transplants, that would have been somebody’s donor eye being totally wasted.”

Hazel Kelly said she had an operation cancelled

Approval in principle for a new eye hospital was agreed in 2018, but the Scottish Government withdrew funding from the project in December 2020, and proposed spreading ophthalmic services across the Lothians.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to overturn the decision, but now the opening has been delayed further – and it could be as late as 2027 until a new facility is built.

Sylvia Paton has started a campaign to get the new hospital built as soon as possible.

She was born with the rare eye condition aniridia, which has led to major problems including cataracts and glaucoma.

She said the continued delays to the new hospital have left her worried about the future.

“If I was to have to go all over the city, to go from one clinic to another to get all those different conditions dealt with, that would be a major trauma,” she said.

“It’s really, really difficult when you’re visually impaired to be able to find your way around and (to) navigate and your mobility can be seriously impaired.” 

A spokesperson for The Scottish Government said the replacement Eye Pavilion remains a priority.

They said: “A recently commissioned review of capital projects across the Scottish Government will provide clarity regarding funding and timescales for delivery of the new facility.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code