Local Eye Health Networks will put eye care on the map locally - LOCSU and others welcome Earl Howe speech

15 June 2012

The Optical Confederation, Local Optical Committee Support Unit, College of Optometrists, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, British and Irish Orthoptic Society and the RCN Ophthalmic Nurses Forum have welcomed a keynote speech made by “eye health” Minister, Earl Howe, at the annual UK Vision 2012 conference on the 12th June in London. The Minister for Quality praised the cross-sector partnership which developed the eye health indicator as an exemplar of collaboration and co-production for the whole of the health sector.

The Minister said he was ‘delighted’ with the inclusion of the eye health indicator, described by his officials as the ‘gold standard’ in the Government’s Public Health Strategy, which will track progress in tackling avoidable sight loss and visual impairment for Age related Macular Degeneration, are AMD, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy annually through Public Health England.

Earl Howe also stressed the huge potential for Local Eye Health Professional Networks as an integral part of the NHS Commissioning Board and key partners with Clinical Commissioning Groups and Health and Wellbeing Boards to act as the hub and make sure that eye health and eye care for the whole population is “on the map locally”. He confirmed that local networks were in the testing phase to see how they should be formally set up and led.
In response to Earl Howe’s speech, Katrina Venerus, speaking for the Local Optical Committee Support Unit said: “LOCSU has been working hard with LOCs and the NHS Commissioning Board Transition team to work out how Local Eye Health Professional Networks can best operate. Whatever the final model, clearly their strength will lie in the active involvement of all local partners including LOCs, community optical practices, hospital colleagues, patient groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards, commissioners and the voluntary sector to reshape care pathways where necessary, maximise use of resources and reduce levels of avoidable visual impairment to deliver the indicator.”

The Optical Confederation also looks forward to working, together with partners at the College of Optometrists, Royal College of Ophthalmologists and with hospital colleagues, with NICE in its forthcoming reviews of Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Cataracts, also mentioned in the Minister’s speech, a spokesperson added.

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