ECLO service launched in Dumfries and Galloway

RNIB Scotland said that, with an eye care liaison officer joining NHS Dumfries and Galloway, every health board in Scotland now has this service

KY RNIB Scotland

A service to support patients facing a diagnosis of sight loss has been launched in Dumfries and Galloway.

A new eye care liaison officer (ECLO), Fiona Ettle, has joined NHS Dumfries and Galloway, able to provide support in the form of emotional reassurance and practical advice for people making an adjustment to living with sight loss.

The new service was established locally in a partnership between the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland (RNIB Scotland) and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

RNIB Scotland highlighted that, with Ettle’s appointment, every health board in Scotland now has this service.

James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, said: “Being told you are going to lose some or even all of your sight can be devastating news.”

“For the doctor and healthcare team, a diagnosis can be pretty much the end of the story. For the patient, however, it’s just the start of a journey into unknown and often rather frightening territory,” he added.”

Commenting on the service, senior charge nurse for ophthalmology, Derek Beeton, said: “The addition of an ECLO service to our department will be of huge benefit to countless patients moving forward,” calling it an example of “positively and effectively bridging the gap between health and social care for the benefit of patients.”

“Despite ongoing innovations and developments, sight loss sadly continues to be something many patients face and can have a profound impact on their level of independence and wellbeing,” Beeton shared.

He added: “The introduction of an ECLO will provide our patients, their relatives and carers, with the practical and emotional support necessary to understand their diagnosis, adapt to living with sight loss, and ultimately retain as much of their independence as possible.”

The Sensory Support Team in Dumfries and Galloway Council also welcomed the service as a bridge between hospital-based services and the community-based Sensory Support Team.

Pictured: Dumfries and Galloway NHS' Jo Birch, and ophthalmologist Christiane Shrimpton, Dumfries and Galloway council's Somar Fergusson, Cllr Paula Stevenson, and RNIB Scotland colleagues, James Adams, Rosemary Cameron, Fiona Ettle and Aleksandra Grzywacz-Kalaska.