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More than just a new eye hospital

17 September 2020

The ambition with the new, customised St. Erik Eye Hospital premises is not only to offer good, highly specialised ophthalmology care. St. Erik also aims to create a new ophthalmology centre – an Eye Centre of Excellence.

"Hagastaden is the new life science hub and the home of Karolinska University Hospital, KI and a number of businesses. Relocating St. Erik there is the natural thing to do," CEO Anders Boman says.

Ever since Anders Boman assumed the position of CEO at St. Erik Eye Hospital, he has worked to improve the hospital’s conditions.

The assignment given to me by the board has been clear from the beginning: I was to ensure that the current premises in Kungsholmen were renovated, find somewhere to relocate to, or take the initiative to build a brand new eye hospital, says Anders Boman.

The decision to build a new hospital had its basis in, among other things, the fact that the current premises had become obsolete. They were built in the 1960s and were originally not intended for ophthalmology.

The premises in Kungsholmen were functional. But in order to develop the care services we offered, along with our research, we had to relocate to new premises, built specifically according to our wishes and requests, says Anders Boman.

A woman and a man sitting at a table looking at architectural drawings.
Anders Boman, CEO, discussing the design of the new eye hospital with Saija Sethfors, general relocation project manager. Photo: Jens Sølvberg
Anders Boman has previously said that if you are going to build a new hospital these days, the only place for it would be in Hagastaden. He stands by this statement.

Hagastaden is the new hub for life sciences. It has the infrastructure around the new Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet. A great number of life science companies have established themselves there. This is the right place for us to be.

But it is not just about being there. The ambition is that the new St. Erik Eye Hospital shall become the engine in an eye specialist centre, where business, academia and healthcare providers work together to create the conditions needed to provide the best possible ophthalmology care. At the same time, it shall serve as a place of innovative cutting-edge research.

We have long had a vision of an Eye Centre of Excellence. To me, this means that if you live in Stockholm or Sweden, you should not have to travel abroad to receive highly advanced ophthalmology care. It should be available here.

St. Erik Eye Hospital is already Sweden’s only purely ophthalmology-oriented hospital and has long been on par with similar institutions around the world. But through the relocation, this position is secured going forward. Anders Boman hopes that this means that St. Erik Eye Hospital will function as a hub, both nationally and internationally.

This is a place where we can treat rare illnesses within the field of ophthalmology. But we will also be able to attract international top-tier expertise in both healthcare and research. The new environment will make this an attractive place to work, he says.

Even prior to the start of the relocation, work on new forms of collaboration has begun. November will mark the start of a series of lunch seminars where actors from the fields of eye care and vision will meet to discuss the challenges and successes of ophthalmology.

A man and a woman standing in a corridor talking.
Discussions regarding the infrastructure of the new St. Erik Eye Hospital. Saija Sethfors, the general relocation project manager in conversation with CEO Anders Boman. Photo: Jens Sølvberg
Many employees have participated in the project and put in a great deal of time and effort into building the new eye hospital’s infrastructure.

"It has been extremely exciting and rewarding! The main aspect has been to build networks and making sure that our eye hospital becomes the best it can be. But we have also worked hard to gather donations that can bolster research and development. We are also happy to see that our efforts have been successful. Now, we are approaching our vision of being one of the world’s leading eye hospitals."

Text: Mats Almegård

17 February 2021