A surgeon for CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, is celebrating after completing more than 1,000 cataract procedures in just seven months with the organisation. 

Dr Moemen Elnawawy joined CHEC’s Preston hospital as an ophthalmologist in July 2023, having worked in eye care for 21 years. Now, he travels across sites in Preston, Blackpool and Accrington performing cataract surgery on community patients. 

Working in partnership with NHS England, CHEC gives local residents increased choice and improved access to ophthalmology services in the community. 

Dr Moemen said of the milestone: “It’s been a brilliant first seven months with CHEC and to have conducted more than 1,000 surgeries in such a short space of time shows the demand there is for a service like ours. My aim is to do anything I can to ensure CHEC continues meeting the target of treating cataract patients within four weeks. Lowering waiting times is a priority of mine, as I fully acknowledge the difference that speedy access to such an important procedure can have on a person’s quality of life.”

Taking the title of Dr Moemen’s 1000th patient is Mr Sweetmen, who recently received cataract surgery within three weeks of being referred. He was extremely pleased with the quality of care delivered by Dr Moeman, saying: “I was introduced to Dr Moemen in the pre-op room and although I was apprehensive about the procedure, his calm approach made me feel much more relaxed. He built my confidence further by explaining how the procedure would work, and when the operation was over, I was delighted to have been comfortable and pain-free throughout the experience. 

“My eyesight has improved dramatically since the procedure, both in clarity and in colour, and thanks to Dr Moemen’s care and reassurance, I feel confident about my upcoming, second operation. I have a huge appreciation for Dr Moemen, and congratulate him on reaching such a significant milestone in his career.”

Based in Broughton Business Park, Fulwood, CHEC Preston opened its services to the local community and surrounding areas in 2021. Since then, thousands of patients have chosen CHEC Preston as their community eye hospital of choice. 

Amanda Williams, Chief People Officer for CHEC, said: “Dr Moemen is an example of everything that is special about CHEC. Since joining us last year, he has worked relentlessly to ensure the people of Preston can access cataract surgery quickly, and the feedback from customers about his care and quality of service speaks for itself. Congratulations, Moemen – we look forward to celebrating when you reach 2,000 surgeries!”

Headquartered in Preston, CHEC has more than 20 hospitals UK-wide, with a North West stronghold through its Preston, Blackpool and Accrington hospitals.

CHEC, one of the largest providers of community-based ophthalmology services in the UK, is welcoming 100% Optical attendees to visit its stand to find out more about patient choice and community healthcare provision. 

On stand B622 will be Jose Bailey, Chief Commercial Officer; Lee Stanley, Head of Service Development; Mahmoud Rabie, Clinical Director and Consultant Ophthalmologist; Karen Dewhurst, Lead Optometrist, and Moeman Elnawawy, Consultant Ophthalmologist. The CHEC team will be engaging with visitors about its growth plans for the next 12 months, the benefits of community eyecare, and its free CPD events taking place across the year to support optometrist upskilling.

In the last 18 months, CHEC has successfully increased its hospital sites from 10 to 21, with the most recent opening in Milton Keynes, Warrington and Ilford earlier this year. Plans are already underway to launch new sites in Leeds, Swindon, Chesterfield and Kings Norton. 

Across its ophthalmology and endoscopy services, CHEC consulted over 298,000 patients in 2023*, helping to reduce NHS waiting times by providing access to specialist care and treatments in the community in an average of under four weeks.

Jose Bailey, Chief Commercial Officer, said: “100% Optical is one of the key dates in our calendar every year, as we’re always keen to engage with industry peers about what we’re collectively doing to improve eye care for patients. 

“This year, having grown our national footprint exponentially, we’ll be promoting the fact our services are being made available to more people across the country and the benefits this has in terms of improving their quality of life and reducing pressure on the NHS. It promises to be another fantastic year for the exhibition, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand.”

Staff and patients at CHEC Basingstoke were celebrating this week after the community-based healthcare provider marked a whole year of working in partnership with the NHS to increase patient choice and reduce waiting times. 

Since first opening its doors in Hampshire International Business Park in January 2023, CHEC Basingstoke has provided ophthalmology services to more than 2,930 patients and completed over 1,245 surgeries. The community hospital has also succeeded in consistently maintaining very low waiting times, with patients currently able to access treatment in two weeks or less. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s only a year ago that we welcomed our first patients to CHEC Basingstoke,” comments Julie Collins, Hospital Manager. “We’d like to thank the local community for choosing CHEC, trusting us to deliver the highest standards of care, and for joining us to celebrate our first anniversary this week!” 

Over the last 12 months, CHEC Basingstoke has pioneered a series of initiatives that make it easier for patients to access its community-based healthcare services. These include a free Home to Hospital™ pick up service and an online patient booking app. 

“Patient choice and reducing waiting times are at the forefront of the NHS agenda. Working in partnership with the NHS, we constantly look for new ways to make it easier for patients to exercise that choice and access the treatment they need,” continues Julie. 

CHEC has established a stronghold for community healthcare provision across Southern England, with hospitals in Watford and Slough. Throughout the UK, CHEC now has more than 20 hospitals. 

Tim Knockton has joined the firm as Group Chief Financial Officer, while James Wilson has stepped into the role of Chief Technology Officer, both tasked with taking the company forward in its ambitious growth plans. 

Knockton has a breadth of experience across professional services and industry, latterly holding a number of senior finance and board roles in SME businesses. He has a background in fast moving consumer goods, including a senior finance and supply chain management role with KP Snacks. Knockton also spent 10 years working in management consultancy and finance transformation for EY. His most recent role saw him appointed as Finance Director for Arc Inspirations.

Speaking of his new role, Knockton said: “CHEC is accelerating its operations quickly, making it a really exciting time to join the business. My ambition is to build on what is already an amazing foundation, ensuring we can scale proficiently while making a truly positive impact on communities around the country. My experience feeds perfectly into that mission, and we’re already making great headway.”

Meanwhile Wilson, with an entrepreneurial background, launched his own software and consultancy company in the early 2000s. After 14 years of growing the firm and becoming a preferred supplier for software services to companies around the world, he exited the business following its sale. From there, he moved into the corporate world joining Bibby Financial Services where he was Enterprise Architect and progressed to the role of Global Head of Strategy and Innovation.

In 2020, he started a RegTech business (ID4-S.com) which was subsequently acquired when he joined Red Flag A!ert as Chief Technology Officer, where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of technology including operations, development, research and strategy, where he remained for three years up to his appointment at CHEC. 

Wilson said: “Technology is so intrinsically linked to experience, I want to make sure the services sitting behind CHEC compel our referrers – GPs, optometrists and NHS Trusts – to work with us at every opportunity. My aim is to ensure we’re delivering such a high-quality technological solution that we differentiate ourselves in the market, as a provider of seamless interactions whether that’s appointment booking, clinical assessments, or as part of our after care.

“We also have a number of new clinics to mobilise in the next 12 months, all of which will rely on a frictionless digital journey to ensure they can offer the full breadth of CHEC services to support patients who lean on us for their healthcare needs. CHEC is growing rapidly, and my aim is to ensure technology underpins every part of our future success.”

Imran Rahman, CEO of CHEC, said: “We’ve welcomed Tim and James with open arms. To add two new team members with such high calibre experience and vast knowledge in their specialisms is a big moment for us, and will help us achieve our ambitions both in the short and long term. Both are already having a big impact on the organisation, and having them support the C-Suite at a senior level will be a privilege.”

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, is ready to welcome its first NHS patients after officially opening the doors at its Ilford site. Centrally based on Ilford Hill, the conveniently located facility will help reduce NHS waiting times and increase patient choice by providing access to ophthalmology and gastroenterology services in the community.

With excellent local transport links, the new state-of-the-art clinical facility is equipped with one ophthalmology theatre and one endoscopy suite. Now accepting ophthalmology referrals, the Ilford hospital is supporting the NHS to reduce waiting times by treating patients within four weeks. 

“Patient choice, exceptional care and equity of access are central to CHEC’s operations and ethos, which is why we’re proud to collaborate with NHS partners nationwide, helping to keep waiting times to a minimum while delivering the very best quality of care,” explains Samea Ahsan Hospital Manager at CHEC Ilford. 

As an accredited provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for ophthalmology, CHEC hosted its first open evening in January, where local optometrists were welcomed to a CPD event on Cataract in Diabetics.  

“For well over a decade, we’ve been trusted by the NHS to deliver healthcare services in the community. We’re excited to become part of the Ilford community and look forward to welcoming our first patients in the coming weeks”. 

“In the meantime, we’d welcome any residents to get in touch and learn more about how we work with the NHS to make much-needed treatments more readily accessible,” concludes Jose Bailey, Commercial Director.

To learn more about accessing the services CHEC provides at its Ilford site, please contact us on engagement@chec.uk.

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, is ready to welcome its first NHS patients after officially opening the doors at its Pitfield Lane site in Milton Keynes. The conveniently located facility will help reduce NHS waiting times and increase patient choice by providing access to ophthalmology and gastroenterology services in the community.

With ample free parking and excellent transport links, the new state-of-the-art clinical facility is equipped with one ophthalmology theatre and one endoscopy suite. Now accepting ophthalmology referrals, the Milton Keynes hospital is supporting the NHS to reduce waiting times by treating patients within four weeks. 

“Patient choice, exceptional care and equity of access are central to CHEC’s operations and ethos, which is why we’re proud to collaborate with NHS partners nationwide,” explains Jose Bailey, Commercial Director at CHEC. 

“For well over a decade, we’ve been trusted by the NHS to deliver healthcare services in the community. We’re excited to become part of the Milton Keynes community and would welcome local GPs and optometrists to get in touch to learn more about how we can work in partnership to make much-needed treatments more readily accessible,” concludes Jose.To learn more about the services CHEC provides at its Milton Keynes site, please contact us on engagement@chec.uk.

Deteriorating eyesight impacts many different parts of our life, from our health and safety through to our hobbies and interests. For Barbara Potter, having cataracts was beginning to affect her favourite pastime of lacemaking. She sought the support of CHEC to bring her eyes back to full health, but came to rely on the team more than she expected during her surgery. 

A mother of two and grandmother of four, Northampton-based Barbara has worn glasses since the age of 11 but in 2015, she lost central vision in her left eye. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration (MMD), a condition where the eyeball elongates and stretches the retina. A course of injections helped tackle the issue and Barbara was able to continue with her hobbies – which also included art and reading – without issue.

Soon after, Barbara was diagnosed with cataracts during a routine hospital visit to assess her MMD. As they weren’t posing any significant risk, she was told to monitor the cataracts and report back if they began to impact her life. By the summer of 2023, they had progressed significantly. 

A need to take action

“The seasons were changing, autumn and winter were incoming, and car headlights were beginning to really affect me at night,” Barbara said. “But I knew the cataracts must be getting worse as my eyesight was affecting my lacemaking, too. I was having to use a very large magnifying glass and thicker thread to see, neither of which is ideal for the intricate work I do. Reading also became more difficult.”

Barbara spoke to her optician, who shared the different options available, including waiting six weeks for a hospital consultation. Instead, on the advice of a friend, Barbara opted to be referred to CHEC, which works in partnership with the NHS to give patients the option of choice when it comes to the next steps in their treatment. 

Barbara said: “My friend couldn’t speak highly enough of the care they’d received, so that, along with the much shorter waiting times and knowing that CHEC works closely with the NHS, swayed me in their direction.”

Support going over and above

Within days of the referral being made, CHEC had made contact with Barbara to arrange a pre op for her first procedure, which took place in September. While the operation was a complete success, Barbara unfortunately suffered from a panic attack while in recovery. Thankfully, the CHEC team were on hand.

“I’ve never had a panic attack before, so I had no idea what was happening,” Barbara said. “I suddenly felt very overwhelmed, but the team spotted it and swooped in to help me. They talked me through breathing procedures and offered me some water. They really took their time with me until I felt better – they couldn’t have done more. Furthermore, they telephoned me the following day to make sure I had no lasting effects from the episode.”

Feeling reassured and with a plan in place to try and prevent a future panic attack, Barbara’s second procedure was booked in for the end of October. It went as planned, and without any issues, Barbara was sent home to recover – noticing an immediate difference to her sight. 

“Something I hadn’t realised before the first operation was how much my ability to see colour had been affected by the cataracts,” Barbara said. “After the operations, everything immediately seemed brighter and fresher, in the same way that a painting does when the old varnish is removed – it was the first thing I noticed. It was as if my eyesight had been on The Repair Shop and restored by an expert!

“The main change in my life, though, is my morning shower. Previously I’d have to take my glasses off and when I put them back on, they’d be steamed up and unusable. Now, I don’t need glasses at all.”

The right step to take

Now fully recovered from both operations, Barbara has been able to return to her hobbies, including her beloved lacemaking.

“I have been a lacemaker for about 40 years with both bobbin lace and needle lace, both of which are very fine,” she said. “Before my operation I found that I needed magnification in order to see the elaborate lace that I was making. Now that I have had my cataracts removed, I can see much clearer and no longer need the magnification at all.”

Thoroughly impressed with the experience and care provided, Barbara is now a strong advocate for CHEC and all the support it offers those struggling with their eyesight. 

“I’ve already recommended CHEC to several different people,” she said, “and will continue to recommend it in the future. The level of care and professionalism was excellent. Cataract surgery isn’t something anyone would look forward to but they made it easy. Choosing CHEC was definitely the right step to take.”

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, has marked a clinical milestone after treating the first surgical eye patients at its new treatment centre at the REAL Battersea clinic. 

One of the first patients to benefit from CHEC’s community cataract procedures was Mrs Frances Hindmarsh, aged 81 from Chiswick. Following the cataract surgery on her right eye, Mrs Hindmarsh has noticed how blue the sky is and is able to read again. 

When asked about her experience being treated by CHEC @ REAL Battersea, Mrs Hindmarsh said: “I have a phobia with eyes and could pass out at any time. I didn’t because everybody was so nice and kept me as calm as possible. I’m willing to put my trust in CHEC and I’m very happy with the whole journey. Thank you to everyone at CHEC.” 

Working in partnership with the NHS, CHEC is helping to reduce waiting times in Battersea and the surrounding areas by making essential treatments more accessible in the community. 

“The waiting time for cataract surgery in Battersea is currently 16.5 weeks. By choosing CHEC, patients can access treatment within just four weeks,” explains Sundeep Sagoo, Hospital Manager. 

“Patient choice and care are front and centre of our operations at CHEC, and we’ve developed a wide range of initiatives to make it easier for people to access the healthcare services they need. But the most rewarding part is seeing the impact our community-based healthcare has on people like Mrs Hindmarsh.”