Eye health sector joined up to help patients remain independent

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC), which represents the major clinical professions and charity organisations in the eye-care sector, has launched a new Low vision, habilitation and rehabilitation framework for adults and children1. The Framework – mainly aimed at commissioners and providers in health and social care – calls for more joined-up commissioning to ensure better access and consistency of services for users supported by the provision of appropriate equipment and expertise to improve quality of life.

Like the Primary Eye Care Framework2, published on 2016, and the Community Ophthalmology Framework3, published in 2015, the emphasis is on promoting integration across primary and community care, hospital eye service, education, social care, and charity and voluntary services to deliver better outcomes and eliminate duplication and waste of resources.

Low vision has a significant impact on a person’s independence and quality of life but low vision, habilitation and rehabilitation services for adults and children are not consistently available across England. In some areas, these services do not exist. This has led to a new cross-sector initiative to ensure quality, reducing service variation, improving equity of access and enhancing outcomes through timely intervention.

Launching the new framework Parul Desai, Chair of the Clinical Council said; “Vision rehabilitation is crucial to ensuring that someone who loses their sight remains as independent as possible. A Department of Health funded research project has identified that good vision rehabilitation avoids significant health and social care costs; the costs avoided are more than three times the cost of delivering the service4. Low vision is an essential part of the eye care and sight loss services and should be made available consistently across the country.