A new network for GPs with an interest in eye health has been launched as part of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) Clinical Priority for eye health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss. The free network aims to bring together GPs from across the UK to raise the profile of eye health within general practice and improve the quality of care for patients with sight loss. It is the first network of its kind.
In November 2012 the RCGP selected eye health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss, as one of its four UK-wide clinical priorities from April 2013 to March 2016, following a successful bid by the UK Vision Strategy partnership. The GP Eye Health Network has been developed to support the delivery of the clinical priority programme and is jointly led by the RCGP and the UK Vision Strategy.
The network will encourage collaboration between GPs and will provide a forum for sharing best practice and innovative ways of managing patients with sight loss. It will also help to develop care pathways between GPs and other practitioners in the eye care sector.
Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP clinical champion for eye health, who leads the programme, said: “The launch of the Eye Health Network is a great step towards helping GPs to gain a better understanding of eye health and sight loss. By working together and sharing best practice, we can help prevent avoidable sight loss within our ageing population.’’
UK Vision Strategy spokesperson, Katherine Raven, says the network will help to achieve the goals of the clinical priority project: ‘’We hope to build an active network of ‘eye health champions’ across the UK who will drive this programme forward at a local level. The network will be instrumental in raising awareness of eye health amongst GPs and will give them useful tools to enable them to detect sight loss in their elderly patients as well as supporting them in the management of patients with existing eye conditions.’’
Network members will receive regular bulletins containing news and signposting to useful resources, as well as invites to training and networking events.
For more information about the clinical priority programme on eye health, click here.