A study commissioned by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has found that providing rehabilitation support for those with sight loss can avoid more than £3 million in health and social care costs annually.
The research, conducted by the Office for Public Management, involved a cost-avoidance analysis of the value and impact of a local authority’s vision rehabilitation service.
The service the study focused on was Surrey Council’s vision rehabilitation service, which is provided by the charity, Sight for Surrey.
Researchers found that the total costs avoided as a result of Sight for Surrey’s vision rehabilitation service were more than £3.4 million per year.
All English local authorities have a duty to provide vision rehabilitation support for blind and partially sighted people under the Care Act 2014.
Deputy chief executive of the RNIB, Fazilet Hadi, told OT that the study showed the economic value of providing a vision rehabilitation service.
“Doing so improves the lives of people with sight loss and significantly outweighs the delivery cost to local health and social care budgets,” she emphasised.
Office for Public Management director, Dr Chih Hoong Sin, shared with OT that providing timely and appropriate support to people with sight loss prevented their needs from escalating.
“This reduces pressure on a number of health and social care services, at a time when they are struggling to cope with constrained budgets and growing demand,” he highlighted.
“We encourage local authorities to move beyond a compliance mindset and to see good vision rehabilitation support as a long-term investment in quality and efficiency,” Dr Hoong Sin concluded.