The Chair welcomed Project Manager Elizabeth Smith and Chief Executive John Pelly from the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr Pelly advised Members that the document circulated with the agenda set out the reasons for the move and why the Kings Cross area had been chosen, as well as the engagement document used in a consultation exercise that concluded on 14th February.
Ms Smith reported that this initial consultation had lasted 12 weeks and had liaised with patients and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) via a questionnaire, drop-in sessions, open days and online communication and social media. She added that of the 59 responses received 87% were positive about the move.
Councillor Luke Akehurst opened the questioning, asking whether Moorfields were considering changing their name?
Mr Pelly responded that a new name was being considered to reflect the integrated clinical and research institute with UCL, but that “Moorfields” would still feature.
Councillor Terrance Paul asked for more details concerning borrowings and funding for the new site.
Mr Pelly replied that exact figures were unavailable as they would depend on the final choice of site (i.e. whether it was lease or freehold) but they were currently estimating that the project would cost in the region of £300million; £75million to be raised through charitable sources, £50-100million from UCL, £30million from Moorfields, and £60million borrowed from government sources.
Councillor Ben Hayhurst queried where the majority of patients came from?
Mr Pelly confirmed that referral figures for Newham, City & Hackney and Tower Hamlets had been circulated with the papers, and that the majority of patients were from neighbouring boroughs.
The Moorfields site on City Road saw 30% of the ophthalmology work in Central London as generally complex issues couldn’t be treated at satellite sites. He reported that some presence would be retained at the City Road site, though exactly what was undecided, and that, after the move, Moorfields were looking to expand further in the East of London with regards to outpatient and surgical services.
The Chairman asked for more details concerning the provision of parking at the new Kings Cross site.
Mr Perry advised Members that the specific site was yet to be determined, though it was unlikely that a great deal of car parking capacity would be created. Instead transport links from Kings Cross St Pancras station would be facilitated (i.e. a shuttle bus) as well as car drop-off points.
Councillor Terrance Paul enquired as to the footprint of the Moorfields site.
Mr Pelly advised that the £300million estimate was just for City Road, which would be moving to a smaller site in Kings Cross. As such, satellite sites were also being invested in to ensure they could accommodate a greater number of patients once the move had occurred.
In a follow up question, Councillor Paul queried whether this had been included in the initial consultation document, as the existing quality of satellite services would affect consultation results.
Ms Smith advised that additional open days had been held at satellite sites to gather their views, and Mr Pelly confirmed that the initial consultation was just the beginning of a much more extensive engagement with patients and partner agencies.
The Chairman questioned whether 87% of 59 respondents was enough to indicate a significant result?
Ms Smith replied that 59 from 200 was an average level of feedback, though responses were still being received and some were sent in on behalf of multiple people. She confirmed that this initial consultation had lasted for 12 weeks but that they would continue to consult patients and partners throughout the project.
In response to a follow up question from Councillor Ted Sparrowhawk, Mr Pelly reported that the entire project was anticipated to take around 7 years.
The Chairman thanked the officers for attending, and noted that a further conversation would be needed concerning how extensive future consultations will need to be.