MECS introduced in Dudley
A launch event was attended by more than 80 practitioners as well as the Mayor of Dudley
Minor eye conditions services (MECS) can now be offered in Dudley as a result of the continued efforts and negotiations of Dudley Local Optical Committee (LOC).
The LOC welcomed over 80 practitioners across two launch events for the scheme. The official launch was hosted at Specsavers on 3 September and attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Dudley and local MP, Ian Austin.
Around 30 practices will participate in the MECS scheme, with the contract from Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) also including pre-cataract and intra ocular pressure repeat reading services.
Speaking to OT about the introduction of the scheme, optometrist and chair of Dudley LOC, Shamina Asif, said: “Community optometrists have been looking forward to this for a long time and we are very proud to have achieved it.”
“It means a lot for both patients and practitioners,” Ms Asif highlighted, adding: “It is fantastic that patients can have their eye problems dealt with locally rather than being referred to A&E. Plus, it is upskilling optometrists and, generally speaking through this, optometrists feel more valued in their role.”
Ms Asif admits that the journey to securing MECS in Dudley was a long one.
She emphasised the importance of persistence for other LOCS across England that may be struggling to secure a MECS contract and said that local referral to treatment (RRT) times are pivotal when speaking to CCGs. “Any LOC that is struggling to get MECS commissioned should find out what the RTT time is at your local ophthalmology department and highlight this when talking to CCGs about the need and benefits of a MECS scheme.”
Ms Asif will audit the scheme over the next 12 months, gathering data which she hopes will demonstrate the value that local services like this bring.