Photo: Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Sanjiv Banerjee with the NAVILAS laser machine at Spire Cardiff Hospital

Over 1,500 ophthalmology NHS patients have received sight-saving treatment as part of a landmark partnership between Spire Cardiff Hospital and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This collaboration is part of a broader partnership which has enabled over 4,000 NHS patients to receive urgent and time-critical care since the start of the pandemic; allowing the Health Board’s main sites such as the University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough to focus on caring for people with COVID-19.

The ophthalmology service at Spire Cardiff Hospital has treated time-sensitive NHS patients with the following conditions:

  • Wet Age related macular degeneration
  • Diabetic macular oedema
  • Retinal vein occlusions

As part of this partnership, the NHS patients have benefitted from the installation of a new NAVILAS laser machine and Silverstone OPTOS imaging system at Spire Cardiff, both of which are the first to be used in Wales.

The NAVILAS machine is a more comfortable and safe laser for the treatment of retinal disorders compared to other lasers and enables the eye consultant to improve overall treatment accuracy as well as speed. 

L-R Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Sanjiv Banerjee and Hospital Director Mrs Fiona Conway at Spire Cardiff Hospital

The Silverstone OPTOS is a unique wide-angled camera that can take a picture of the whole retina in one shot rather than seven. The scan is able to show a healthy eye or detect disease and is the first of its kind to be used in Europe. 

Mrs Fiona Conway, Hospital Director at Spire Cardiff Hospital said, “Continuing the Ophthalmology clinic for NHS patients is one of many services which we’ve been able to keep running for the NHS at Spire Cardiff during the fight against COVID-19. We have seen patients at critical risk of losing their sight and the fact that we have been able to treat over 1,500 of these patients from Cardiff and Vale UHB is fantastic news.

“We’ve built a great relationship with the Cardiff and Vale UHB and will continue to help as many time-critical and urgent NHS patients as possible during this time.”

Alun Tomkinson, Clinical Board Director of Surgery, commented: “Our partnership with Spire Cardiff Hospital is proving instrumental in allowing ophthalmology patients to receive urgent care during these challenging times. Thanks to the work underway with Spire, we have been able to deliver an excellent provision to make sure patients with time-sensitive needs are treated in a timely and safe way – without placing pressure on services at our main sites at University Hospital Wales and University Hospital Llandough. I’d like to give a special thank you to Mr Sanjiv Banerjee who has been instrumental to the delivery of this scheme. ”

Patient Margaret Harris said, “As an NHS patient, visiting the ophthalmology clinic at Spire Cardiff Hospital, I found it a reassuring calm environment. It was slightly daunting when you first arrive, but as soon as I was greeted by the staff, everything was anxiety-free and everything ran so smoothly it was brilliant.

“I, unfortunately, suffer quite severely with my sight, and being able to see Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Sanjiv Banerjee at Spire Cardiff, meant I was able to have a vital cataract operation and have my sight made clearer within two weeks. I am really pleased with the results.”

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