92% of patients managed in community through Welsh IP initiative

The Independent Prescribing Optometry Service has shown promising results after its introduction one day after lockdown

Optical equipment close up
A pioneering scheme within Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has helped to reduce referrals into secondary care.

The Independent Prescribing Optometry Service, introduced one day after lockdown on 24 March, saw four optometry practices with IP optometrists provide emergency eye care within the community.

Optometrists at Direct Eyecare (Cardiff), Jones & Jones Optometrists (Barry), Osmond Drake (Penarth) and Davies and Jones Optometrists (Dinas Powys) worked a six day per week rota to reduce the burden on eye casualty at University Hospital of Wales during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Of the patients treated through the service, 92% of cases were able to be treated within the community.

IP optometrists shared patient data and images securely through the electronic patient record platform, OpenEyes, with consultants at the University Hospital of Wales.

Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board optometry adviser, Sharon Beatty, said that the initiative had freed up capacity within the University Hospital of Wales.

“It’s with the help of our accommodating digital innovators and the co-operation of the four practices that have worked on a six day per week rota that has made this service a success.”

Head of primary care services at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Clare Evans, highlighted that there is potential for national rollout of the service.

“We’ve had great feedback from patients who have used this service, particularly those who have shielded who mentioned they felt safer being treated closer to home,” she said.