Rapid, safe NHS eye care provided by Moorfields/UCL at Brent Cross shopping centre

Innovative research project aims to change the future of diagnostic clinics, improving access and efficiency while reducing cost and viral exposure.

As part of a research collaboration with UCL, Moorfields Eye Hospital has opened a pop-up diagnostic clinic in an empty storefront at Brent Cross. The collaboration aims to provide easy, convenient access to diagnostic eye care for patients.

Upon arrival, patients will take part in a series of high-tech diagnostic testing. The space has been configured to reduce exposure to Covid-19. Patients will remain socially distant at all times, and the quick testing process limits indoor time.

They have also created an innovative “eye-pod,” where patients will sit in a secure, light- and sound-controlled environment as they undergo a variety of diagnostic tests. The chair will rotate so patients can be tested on multiple pieces of equipment.

The setting is inspired by high-efficiency commercial settings, such as automotive or aerospace manufacturing.

“We hope this bespoke design will end the need for waiting rooms, further reduce the time patients spend in a clinic, while also building in social distancing measures,” said Dr Hari Jayaram, NIHR Moorfields BRC.

“The hubs’ movable, flexible and sustainable nature also means they could be rapidly deployed and expanded to help to reduce ongoing NHS backlogs and boost capacity in the event of a future pandemic,” he continued.

Over the next few months, the research team will reconfigure the space to discover the most efficient testing process possible. They will utilise UCL-designed moveable “smart” walls and floating data and electrical “umbilical” cords.

These efforts will reduce time in the clinic, but it will improve cost efficiency as well.

“As well as providing an innovative new way to assess and monitor patient’s eyes, we hope the research work at Brent Cross will allow us to see even more patients. As diagnostic hubs are adopted more widely across the NHS, this has the potential to help the NHS to reduce waiting lists,” said Louisa Wickham, medical director at Moorfields.

Designed by UCL architects and scientists, the clinic represents the future of enhanced delivery of UK and global healthcare. This new research project, supported by NIHR, was led by Professor Paul Foster, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

The hope is that in time, similar flexible and mobile diagnostic centres can be quickly created to monitor early phase trial participants, accommodate cancer or cardiac screening, or triage during a pandemic and facilitate recovery from it.

“This important innovative eye clinic, builds on the decade of research that led to the earlier Moorfields’ diagnostic hubs,” said Professor Paul Foster, NIHR Moorfields BRC, lead on this project.

“Through rigorous research, patient feedback and expert evaluation, we aim to provide data on how to create outpatient diagnostic hubs that are user-friendly, time efficient and socially distanced. This work will help define the principles that will shape healthcare in the UK and globally for the next 50 years.”

For further information, please contact moorfields.pressoffice@nhs.net.