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Joint Strategic Needs Assessment guidance updated to include children’s eye health

News posted: 20/12/2013

A new children’s section of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) guidance developed by eye health and sight loss sector partners has been launched. The guidance aims to enable Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB) to better understand the eye health needs of their local populations including children and support effective commissioning of services.

The guidance, which is available by clicking here, pulls together a number of key datasets and provides a ‘menu of options’ so that Health and Wellbeing Boards can access the information which is most relevant for their local authority.

Strong links between sight loss and other health determinants are identified within the guidance to assist local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCG) and Health and Wellbeing Boards to meet local health and wellbeing strategic priorities.

Martin Parker, strategic care commissioning manager, Local Authority, South England, said: “The RNIB JSNA Guidance document provides an excellent support for any commissioner looking to develop a detailed picture of the prevalence of sight loss in their area to support the development of a local JSNA or any eye health /sight loss strategy. Through the sections on sight loss conditions and health determinants and using the statistics and links to research, commissioners will be able to quickly gather the background information and data required to provide a really good basis for a JSNA section on sight loss”.

Professor John R Ashton CBE, President of the Faculty of Public Health of the UK Royal College Physicians, commented: “Eye health is an important part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework and should be recognised as such by public health teams across England. This guidance will help enable public health professionals to effectively develop their JSNA to ensure that the current and future eye health needs of their local residents are planned efficiently and effectively. I would encourage all public health professionals to use this guidance”.

Mark Godfrey, joint chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Physical and Sensory Impairment Network, said: “This guidance is a valuable tool for anyone who is currently working to develop their Joint Strategic Needs Assessments. Eye Health is linked to several public health issues making it important for local authorities to assess the eye health needs of their local residents and consider the needs of adults and children with sight loss”.

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy programme director and interim chief operations officer for VISION 2020 UK, said: “We are pleased to hear that many local authorities have been using this guidance and found it to be a useful tool for developing their JSNA and informing their health and wellbeing strategies. Following their feedback we have updated the guidance to include a section on children’s health and updated sources of information and data”.

There is a range of information sources and statistics on children with vision impairment which can be used to help understand local need. The RNIB Data tool sets out the number of children with sight loss, broken down to local authority level and is available at: www.rnib.org.uk/datatool.