New Clinical Pathways launched

15 March 2019

LOCSU has published new eye health pathways as part of a root and branch upgrade.

The refreshed approach has the potential to transform the delivery of eye health service within optical practice, supporting the “out-of-hospital” care agenda and promoting the whole-system approach to service delivery and pathway redesign.

Launching the new pathways Interim Clinical Director, Zoe Richmond, said: “As primary care contractors, optical practices play a crucial role delivering eye health services that go far beyond a sight test.“With our highly-skilled staff and specialist equipment, a local optical practice is the natural place to identify and manage a wide range of eye conditions, providing first contact care for the eye health sector.

“In addition, clinical expertise within many optical practices also allows for the monitoring of conditions with a low-risk of progression.

“For the first time, it will throw a spotlight on our comprehensive offer to commissioners.”

LOCSU has started to publish refreshed pathway diagrams and documents which will culminate with the publication of a comprehensive, overarching framework document describing a primary eye care pathway – all clinical pathways interconnecting – to support a system of change.

So far – as part of the comprehensive Clinical Service Pathways Framework – LOCSU’s published pathways include:

  • Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)
  • Glaucoma Referral Filtering and Monitoring
  • Cataract (pre/post-operative)
  • Medical Retina Monitoring (Hydroxychloroquine)

Other pathways will be published over the summer along with the overarching blueprint document. They include:

  • Children’s Vision
  • Low Vision
  • Enhanced services for people with Learning Disabilities and Dementia
  • AMD – Referral Filtering and Late AMD Monitoring

Zoe explained that there are a number of factors at play with NICE updating their guidelines and the publication of new frameworks published by the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning. She said these provide the opportunity to position optical practices where they can deliver extended eye care services beyond GOS in an end-to-end patient pathway.

“It’s vitally important that our pathways reflect the guidance, terminology and fit in with a standardised approach, recommended by both NICE and CCECH.”

The LOCSU Commissioning Lead revealed that the NHS is focusing on ophthalmology as its biggest outpatient group and a priority area for reform. She said that new patient-centred pathways would emphasize the role that optical practices should play in delivering a redesigned service.

Zoe said that the new framework and updated pathways also aim to end the piecemeal approach of commissioners. “Rather than view our resources as a ‘pick’n’mix’ of pathways, our end-to-end blueprint should get them to think in a structured, holistic and patient-centred way about delivering eye health.

“With highly-skilled staff and specialist equipment, a local optical practice is the natural starting place to identify and manage a wide range of eye conditions. Clinical expertise within many optical practices also allows for the monitoring of conditions with a low-risk of progression.”

More information can be found here.

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