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Eyecare review in Scotland recommends more community services

News posted: 21/04/2017

More eyecare services should be made available in the community, according to a review held in Scotland.

The Community Eyecare Review, commissioned by Health Secretary Shona Robison last year, has now been published. Chaired by Hamish Wilson, the review looks at care provided by community optometrists and how this can be developed and enhanced.

The review comes a decade after the introduction of free eye examinations in Scotland and recommends schemes to reduce geographical differences in services. It also advises more tailored arrangements for patients with specific complex needs to support care closer to home.

It suggests some eye services traditionally offered in hospitals, like post-cataract surgery appointments and managing stable glaucoma patients, should be made available locally. This is already happening in some parts of Scotland.

The Community Eyecare Services Review also recommends the creation of a national list of optometrists and dispensing opticians, thereby improving service planning and reducing duplication.

Similar recommendations to the Community Eyecare Services Review are made in another, parallel report, the report on hospital eye services highlights progress, priorities and action to improve the flow of patients through hospital, reduce waiting times and better staff education and training. This report is part of the National Opthalmology Workstream.

Hamish Wilson, Chair of the Community Eyecare Review, said: “The Scottish Government commissioned this review to consider the current good practices being provided by community optometry and ensure high quality eye care that meets the individual needs of patients is fit for the future. I hope the recommendations in this report will help achieve not only that but also support the mutli-disciplinary approach that is central to the Government’s primary care transformation agenda.”

Further details relating to the published report can be found by clicking here.

  • Optometry Scotland responseOpen

    Optometry Scotland welcomes the recognition from the Cabinet Secretary and Scottish Government of the vital role that the optical professions play in the detection, diagnosis, and prevention of eye problems.

    Since the introduction of the universally NHS funded eye examination 10 years ago, optometry has played an ever increasing role in primary care and is now the 1st port of call for eye health.

    With the ability to use repeat procedure and new technology to further refine diagnosis, and the development of new pathways, it has been possible to retain more people in the community who would otherwise be referred to a hospital.

    Optometry Scotland accepts this 10 year review of eyecare and the key recommendations which have been the result. Optometry Scotland has worked in collaboration with the Scottish Government and key stakeholders – patient representatives, secondary care and the 3rd sector.

    Optometry Scotland will work closely with the Scottish Government on an implementation plan and resource allocation that will see patients being put at the centre of their own care and a shift to a more accessible and less disjointed journey.

    Optometry Scotland look forward to a new model of administration of eyecare that is patient focussed and reaches out to all communities in Scotland.