Olympic patient returns to Brighton hospital to mark £3m makeover

Posted On 27 Dec 2016 at 1:56 pm

An Olympic silver medallist returned to the Brighton hospital where she was a patient to cut the ribbon after a £3 million makeover.

Fiona Bigwood, 40, a patient at the Sussex Eye Hospital for the past two and a half years, took the opportunity to thank staff for looking after her.

The dressage champion suffers double vision after an accident in 2014 and now rides wearing an eye patch, having thought that she might have to give up competing. She won a silver at the Rio Games.

The ribbon-cutting event marked the official reopening of the hospital, in Eastern Road, Brighton, after a refurbishment that started last year.

As well as work on the roof and the fitting of replacement windows, the interior of the 1930s building has been redesigned.

Two outpatient areas have been enlarged and eight new clinical spaces created to ensure that patients are being seen in an appropriate setting sooner, reducing waiting times and improving the patient experience.

There are also two new dedicated waiting rooms, one for adults and one specifically tailored for children.

Olympic equestrian Fiona Bigwood celebrates the £3 million makeover of the Sussex Eye Hospital with hospital trust chairman Tony Kildare, head of orthoptics Joy White and project manager Dixon Au

Olympic equestrian Fiona Bigwood celebrates the £3 million makeover of the Sussex Eye Hospital with hospital trust chairman Tony Kildare, head of orthoptics Joy White and project manager Dixon Au

Fiona Bigwood said: “I can’t praise the care I have received enough. It has been amazing.

“When I first had my accident, I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on competing but the treatment I have received has been fantastic and has helped me to carry on competing.

“All the staff are wonderful and every patient I have spoken to has nothing but good things to say about the care they receive.”

Consultant opthalmic surgeon Edward Hughes said: “There has been substantial investment in the new facilities and we are grateful also for charitable donations which have been used to purchase new equipment to improve patient care and outcomes.

Mr Hughes added: “The redevelopment would not have been possible without a truly multi-disciplinary team effort and close working with our dedicated partners and charities including Rockinghorse and Onward Arts.”

Fiona Bigwood added: “The new refurbishments are such an improvement and make such a positive difference to patients and staff.

“I can’t thank the staff enough for the care they have provided so it is a real honour to be able to be officially opening the new facilities.”

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