New Plymouth hospital unit for eyes is open wide
THE doors finally opened at the new multi-million pound home of the Royal Eye Infirmary yesterday and staff said it will be a day they "never forget".
Doctors and nurses at the Royal Eye Infirmary (REI) eagerly awaited the arrival of their first patients yesterday morning as they adapted to working in their new £5 million state-of-the-art ophthalmology unit at Derriford Hospital.
Health professionals from across the city were given a preview of the facilities on Tuesday where they spoke of how impressed they were with the site. And patients were equally happy with what they found.
Eighty-six-year-old Peggy Lillicrap, from Woolwell, was not only the first cataract operation of the day, but the first to undergo such an operation at the new site.
Patiently sitting in the waiting room ahead of her operation Peggy, an artist, said she was looking forward to having the cataract removed and finally being able to see clearly.
She said she much preferred the new building to the old Mutley site but was pleased the same friendly staff members were still on hand to help.
"The new site is much better in looks and it feels like a hospital now. I definitely prefer the new site – it's much more business like. The staff here are very kind and nice and make me feel at ease. I'm glad they moved too," she said.
As Peggy was given local anaesthetic to numb her left eye, she told the staff she felt "extra special" to be their first operation at the new site.
Wearing her new fluffy slippers with diamante bows, Peggy was talked through the procedure before being taken through to the new operating theatre.
Peggy said: "It's great to be the first patient. I feel honoured and really chuffed."
And Nehal Mandour, associate specialist in ophthalmology, who was carrying out Peggy's operation, said she had looked forward to the first day at the new site for some time.
She said: "It's wonderful in our new theatre. It's a lot different to the old one in so far as it's nicer, brighter, cleaner and, as they say, state-of-the-art. I've looked forward to this day and it's fantastic now we're finally here."
Peggy's operation took just under 20 minutes from start to finish and the team of nurses and surgeons were clearly thrilled their first ever operation at the new site went well as they took photos with Peggy at the end to document the moment.
Mrs Mandour said: "It's a very special day, one we'll certainly never forget."
Four floors down, on Level Three, staff working in the REI outpatients' department spoke of their excitement at being in their new home.
Vicky Brotherton, senior sister, said: "It was a fantastic day. Everyone was so excited. The patients loved it and the improved dignity and privacy they now receive is such a bonus. It's certainly a day we'll remember and Plymouth now has state-of-the-art ophthalmology facilities which will greatly improve patient care.
"It is definitely one of the best facilities in the South West and is certainly the most patient friendly and up-to-date. It's so nice to have a proper, dedicated, modern unit for the city."