Appointment marks milestone in staff supporting patients with sight loss

Royal National Institute of Blind People is celebrating the appointment of its 100th eye clinic liaison officer

Chase farm hospital

Royal National Institute of Blind People has appointed its 100th eye clinic liaison officer (ECLO).

The role involves working alongside other hospital staff to provide practical and emotional support for those newly diagnosed with sight loss.

RNIB announced that Renu Walia has begun work based at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, North London.

She also provides support to patients in Barnet Hospital and Edgware Community Hospital.

Walia, who is severely sight impaired, shared that losing sight can be overwhelming.

“My role is to be an independent support, in addition to the clinical staff, who can focus on a person's individual needs and enable them to access the support they need to come to terms with their sight loss and live independent lives,” she said.

Around half of ECLOs have sight loss, with the first person appointed to the role in 1994.

RNIB plans to continue to expand the support service through the appointment of 30 ECLOs over the next five years.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, ECLOs supported close to 57,000 patients between 2020 and 2021.

RNIB director of services, David Clarke, shared his “delight” at the 100th appointment.

“I would like to thank the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust for working with us to make this possible. This is a significant milestone for RNIB and another step in making sure no-one receives a diagnosis without support,” he said.