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Scotland: expert working group to review community eye care

The panel will reflect on universal entitlement to free eye care and the performance of community optometry before and after the pandemic

green and blue eye
Pixabay/Sofie Zbořilová
An expert working group has been established to review the performance of community eye care in Scotland.

The review will assess the impact of universal entitlement to eye care within Scotland and the performance of community optometry services before and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expert working group, which involves a range of healthcare and academic professionals, is chaired by Julie Mosgrove of Optometry Scotland.

Ms Mosgrove highlighted that group’s work and research will pave the way for the evolution of community eye care services in Scotland.

“To undertake a review at such a busy time for health services is challenging but as part of the wider remobilisation of primary care in Scotland, it is a critical moment in reviewing how community eye care can maintain Scotland’s eye health whilst working more closely with community health, social care and third sector colleagues in meeting wider public health needs,” she emphasised.

Data collected by Optometry Scotland from a sample of 143 optometry practices between 23 March and 11 May revealed that 74,000 patients were seen over the period.

Fewer than 5% of patients from the survey sample required referral to an Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centre.

“During this period much has been learned about the critical role community eye care played, and will continue to offer, as we navigate our way out of the pandemic,” Ms Mosgrove observed.

Following expert input and an examination of the evidence, the working group will produce a report with recommendations for consideration by the Scottish Government in early January.