Louisa Wickham: “We need to design a system with the most vulnerable patients at its heart”
The first national clinical director for eye care spoke to optometrists at the National Optical Conference in Leeds on Wednesday
13 October 2022
The first national clinical director of eye care emphasised the importance of having the courage to innovate at the National Optical Conference in Leeds on Wednesday.
Consultant ophthalmologist and Moorfields Eye Hospital medical director, Louisa Wickham, was appointed to the newly created role in July.
Speaking to local optical committee delegates at the conference, Wickham shared the importance of transforming eye care in the face of growing waiting lists that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
An element of successful innovation is introducing initiatives without being sure of their success, Wickham added.
“It needs to be OK for us to try something and fail. We can’t assume that everything we try is going to work,” she observed.
Wickham shared that her new role will be dedicated to representing eye care at a national level.
“It will demonstrate a real step forward to changing the shape of eye care services across the country,” she said.
I want to make sure that people don’t lose their sight through lack of access to appropriate care
Wickham highlighted the importance gathering data in order to transform services for patients.
She noted that the evidence suggests that those in greatest need are also those who find it most difficult to access care.
“We need to design a system with the most vulnerable patients at its heart,” Wickham shared.
“We need to understand the areas where we are failing to deliver the care we aspire to,” she added.
A key thread through Wickham’s presentation was the value of collaboration. She noted that while telemedicine and digital tools can enable improved care, there needs to be coordination between different health care providers.
“Without collaboration those tools will not come to fruition in the way we wish them to,” Wickham shared.
The ultimate goal around the transformation of eye care is to improve the lives of patients, she emphasised.
“I want to make sure that people don’t lose their sight through lack of access to appropriate care,” Wickham said.