Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: MSPs press for meeting with Health Secretary after review backs new hospital
Lothian MSPs are pressing for an early cross-party meeting with new Health Secretary Humza Yousaf after an external review of eyecare commissioned by NHS Lothian backed the case for a new eye hospital in the Capital.
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The Scottish Government promised a replacement for Edinburgh’s Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in its statement of priorities following last month’s Holyrood election.
And the review by consultants Buchan & Associates confirmed the importance of developing a centre of excellence, co-locating different eyecare services on one site and bringing together care, training and research.
Mr Yousaf has indicated he is willing to meet MSPs from the area who have been campaigning for a new hospital at Little France since the government told NHS Lothian in December it would not fund the project despite previously agreeing to it in principle. After a public outcry, Nicola Sturgeon pledged during the election to fund a replacement after all.
Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “This review reinforces the case for a replacement eye hospital for Lothian. This should act as a catalyst to inform NHS Lothian and ministers on what is going to be needed for the new hospital they have committed to building and also future-proofing the new hospital.”
He wrote to Mr Yousaf following his appointment in May asking him to meet MSPs to outline details of the government’s plans. An official reply this week said Mr Yousaf looked forward to meeting “soon”.
But Mr Briggs said he hoped a meeting could take place next week before the parliament broke up for the summer of, if not, during the recess.
“It’s now important we have a meeting as soon as possible to find out what the plans are from both the health board and the government.
“Patients and NHS staff want to know what’s happening , so I’m keen to pin then down and get details on finance and a timescale.
Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack backed the call for an early meeting and said she wanted to know the government’s response to the review.
“The report is clear that we need a new eye hospital in Edinburgh to address the fact that 60 per cent of patients needing emergency treatment come from the city and patients from East Lothian and Midlothian also attend services here.
"The report recommends that the new site needs to be within 30 minutes of major trauma and paediatric facilities. It also highlights the importance of having research on the same site.
"Given that during the election Nicola Sturgeon committed to a new Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh it‘s time for the Scottish Government to listen to our local health experts and look again at what’s been proposed by NHS Lothian for a new eye hospital at Little France and how to expand access to eye services and operations in Lothian.”
Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said: “It is encouraging this report supports the view that we need a new hospital. I urge Humza Yousaf to bring forward the meeting which has been promised with local representatives to discuss how we can make a new eye facility in Edinburgh a reality.”