Emergency eye unit should be kept in city
AT THE end of the year the Royal Eye Infirmary will close and the department will relocate to Derriford. This will be the eighth and final hospital from the original health service to close.
Some will say they will still have an eye department at Derriford, yet the present casualty department at the Eye Infirmary is in the centre of Plymouth and the new one will be three miles away on the outskirts.
Most people who have an eye mishap have only a short distance to travel to the existing infirmary casualty department and, if it is a minor injury, can be treated promptly.
Once the infirmary has relocated to Derriford it will mean the patient with an eye mishap is bound to experience having the problem longer, solely because it will take longer to get to Derriford Hospital.
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I wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and stated there should be an additional eye clinic in Plymouth as well as Derriford. He replied saying the local trust who are coordinating the move of the eye infirmary to Derriford, "have taken into account the transport facilities after full consultation and are happy with the transport arrangements when the hospital moves to Derriford".
Yet there is no public transport from or to Derriford after 8pm, so if you don't have your own transport and need a taxi, it will cost you £8 to get to Derriford.
So, even a minor eye injury, which could soon be sorted at the casualty department, could cost you £16 for a taxi each way. The cost alone is one reason I think an additional eye casualty clinic should remain in Plymouth.
I am aware that eye infirmary surgeons are in desperate need of more operating theatres. Yet it would be ironic that the eye hospital at Derriford has a fine up-to-date surgical facility unit, yet at the same time an outstanding eye injury department, which had provided excellent treatment in the centre of Plymouth for 100 years, is now to be several miles from the present clinic.
The Royal Eye Infirmary building is a listed protected institution and therefore cannot be demolished. It would be good if a small department could be kept there as an emergency department.
If anyone agrees there should still be an emergency eye clinic in the centre of Plymouth, even when the Eye Infirmary has moved to Derriford, write to Patient Advice and Liaison Service, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, PL6 8DH or telephone 0845 155 8123.