PATIENTS in the West Somerset and Wellington areas no longer need to travel into Musgrove Park Hospital for treatment for macular conditions.

They can now use a new macular treatment centre on the Blackbrook business park in Taunton, near the M5 motorway.

The centre, run by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, is based in Harrison House, which also houses the hospital’s ophthalmology diagnostic centre.

It has been funded and equipped through a joint working project between the trust and global life science company Bayer, with support from Musgrove Park Hospital League of Friends and its donors.

Demand for Musgrove’s macular service has increased in recent years to the point where it has outgrown assessment and treatment areas in the hospital’s eye clinic.

Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Mr Shantanu Gudsoorkar, who specialises in macular diseases, was involved with both the diagnostic and treatment centre projects.

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Harrison House, at Blackbrook, Taunton, which houses a new macular conditions treatment centre.

Mr Gudsoorkar said: “Our macular team at Musgrove provides vision-saving eye injection treatment for patients.

“Over the last five years there has been a growing demand for the treatment of macular conditions in Somerset because of an increasing elderly population and better diagnostic equipment within community-based and high street opticians.

“Our service currently gets 40 new referrals every month, and we have 2,500 patients under our care who need regular appointments and treatment, twice the number of patients since 2017.

“Our skilled macular nurse practitioners performed 12,000 injections in 2022, compared with 6,000 in 2017, showing the progressively rising demand for appointments and treatment which has doubled over the last five years.”

Ophthalmology outpatient department senior sister Rachel Adams said: “We now have two new consulting and treatment rooms at Harrison House, all purpose-built with high-quality air filtration technology.

“This is a real game changer for our patients as it means that over 300 patients a week can have their diagnostic investigations for macular, glaucoma, and macular treatment at Harrison House, instead of at a busy hospital, and we have capacity to expand this further over time.”

Bayer UK ophthalmology senior medical advisor Rose Gilbert said: “Bayer and the NHS share a common goal in improving patient outcomes and therefore, we were delighted to work with the trust with the aim of improving ophthalmology patient care in Somerset.”