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
30 November 2022
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.
A patient view: “It makes people feel like they are not alone”
“It’s a very valuable service. It makes people feel like they are not alone, that somebody is there. If you have any worries or anything, you just contact them and have a chat,” the 78-year-old said.
“I think the new service in Dumfries and Galloway will be a great help to people like me. It’ll give them the confidence to know they’ve got somebody that can back them up and keep in touch with them.
“It’s hugely important that there’s someone there not just for the medical side, but for everything else – the emotional side, and getting the support that someone needs,” they added.
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.