More high-street eye services needed to reduce ophthalmology pressures, CCGs urged

18 March 2016

CCGs are being urged to introduce more high-street eye health services following revelations that hospital ophthalmology services are at bursting point.

The call follows the announcement by the UK’s leading ophthalmologist that patients are at risk of irreversible sight loss because NHS eye clinics can’t cope. Professor Carrie MacEwan, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said follow-up appointments can be “delayed by years”, meaning patients don’t get treated on time.

Now, LOCSU and the Optical Confederation are calling on the 200-plus CCGs to end the eye care “postcode lottery” by commissioning community services.

Highlighting the way forward to reduce delayed appointments and preventable sight loss, sector leader, Katrina Venerus, said: “Professor MacEwen is right to draw attention the severe pressure hospital eye clinics are under. A major part of the solution – already set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View – is to expand services by transferring more routine and step-down care into community optical practices. 

“We are already supporting optometrists in a number of areas to work with ophthalmologists in Acute Trusts on initiatives to help address capacity problems. But we need all CCGs to put patients’ sight at the top of their health agenda and commission appropriate local services to ease severe bottlenecks.

“There are over 10,000 optometrists in high streets across England that can be utilised to monitor low-risk patients in the community. Local studies show that on average, this could take up to one third of patients at risk off waiting lists and allow ophthalmologists to concentrate on the most urgent cases and follow-up appointments.

The community optical sector also urged the NHS to connect optical practices to its IT systems, such as e-Referral Service, to ensure integrated patient care.

“For too long, optical practices have been overlooked as part of delivering a reformed and preventative NHS. But optical professionals have the skills and locations and the determination to play a part in delivering better eye health and reduce levels of preventable blindness. CCGs need to wake up to this and realise community services are a cost-effective solution.”

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Herefordshire LOC's AGM

The Courtyard – Studio Theatre, Edgar Street, Hereford, HR4 9JR

Annual AGM

2018-04-25 14:30:00 - 2018-04-25 18:30:00

Contact name: Nick Black

Contact email: nick_black@btinternet.com

Calderdale and Kirklees LOC's AGM

Bertie's Banqueting Rooms, Brook Street, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 9AW

Annual AGM

2018-04-25 18:30:00 - 2018-04-25 21:30:00

Contact name: Russell Ramsden

Contact email: russellr-loc@hotmail.co.uk

Dorset LOC's AGM

The RNLI College, West Quay Road, Poole, BH15 1HZ

Annual AGM

2018-04-25 18:30:00 - 2018-04-25 21:00:00

Contact name: Rachel Edwards

Contact email: info@dorsetloc.org

North East London LOC's AGM

Best Western Plus Epping Forest Hotel, 30 Oak Hill, Woodford Green, London IG8 9NY

Annual AGM

2018-04-26 18:30:00 - 2018-04-26 21:00:00

Contact name: Gaynor Mendolson

Contact email: info@nelondonloc.com

North & North East Lincolnshire LOC's AGM

The Humber room, The Ropewalk, Maltkiln Road, Barton-on-humber

Annual AGM

2018-04-27 18:30:00 - 2018-04-27 21:00:00

Contact name: Ralph Worfolk

Contact email: rw@smithwalker.co.uk

Sefton LOC's AGM

Pioneer Bar, 107 Liverpool Rd, Crosby, L23 5TD

Annual AGM

2018-04-30 18:00:00 - 2018-04-30 21:00:00

Contact name: Paul Newell

Contact email: sefton.loc@gmail.com

Kent & Medway LOC's AGM

Charlotte Room, Marriott Tudor Park, Ashford Road, Bearsted, ME14 4NQ

Annual AGM

2018-05-01 18:00:00 - 2018-05-01 21:00:00

Contact name: Michelle Martins

Contact email: michelle@jclconsulting.co.uk

Cumbria LOC's AGM

Greenfields Hotel, Wigton, Cumbria

Annual AGM

2018-05-01 18:00:00 - 2018-05-01 21:00:00

Contact name: Bruce Avery

Contact email: braveryoptom@talktalk.net

Manchester LOC's AGM

The Chancellors Hotel, Chancellors Way, Moseley Way, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6NN

Annual AGM

2018-05-02 18:30:00 - 2018-05-02 21:00:00

Contact name: Lindsey Flynn

Contact email: lindsey-flynn@hotmail.com

Devon LOC's AGM

Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter, Devon EX6 7UX

Annual AGM

2018-05-08 18:30:00 - 2018-05-08 21:00:00

Contact name: Jonathan Drew

Contact email: jdrew@devonloc.co.uk

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