Community-based ophthalmology provider Community Health and Eye Care (CHEC) has launched a new centre in the Gateshead Metrocentre.
Waiting lists for ophthalmology have spiralled in the last year and reached over 630,000 in March – second only to orthopaedics.
CHEC said the new treatment centre would play a ‘crucial role’ in addressing regional backlogs in the North East. Newcastle and Gateshead have faced particularly significant backlogs with 100,000 people currently waiting for treatment, 14,000 of whom are waiting for eyecare services, with ophthalmology the worst affected department.
CHEC chief operating officer Jon Dore said: ‘The launch of our new Newcastle Gateshead site is a very exciting next step in our ongoing aim to provide high-quality and efficient ophthalmology services across the country. With Newcastle and Gateshead facing particularly significant backlogs in the wake of the pandemic, our local eyecare services will offer support in addressing these regional backlogs. Equally, with some patients facing wait times as long as two years for vital services, our new centre will help ensure patients receive high-quality care when they need it with patient-focused care remaining our priority.’
The Gateshead site is part of CHEC’s wider expansion drive and follows new openings in Nottingham and Leicester.