Marsha de Cordova calls on Prime Minister to back National Eye Health Strategy Bill

The MP for Battersea posed the question during Prime Minister Questions yesterday (11 January)


During this week’s Prime Minister Questions yesterday (11 January), Labour MP for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova stood and asked Rishi Sunak if he would back her National Eye Health Strategy Bill.

Questioning the Prime Minister, she told the house: “The crisis in the NHS includes ophthalmology, the largest and busiest outpatients service. There are more than 650,000 people waiting to see an eye care specialist. Will the Prime Minister back my Bill calling for a national eye health strategy that would ensure that nobody waiting to see a specialist will go without, and potentially lead to a complete loss of sight?”

After thanking de Cordova for her campaigning in this area, the Prime Minister stated: “We are taking action to improve things,” adding: “Over the last five years the national institute for health and care research has invested more than £100 million to support research into eye conditions. But know that there is more that we can do and my honourable friend the minister, I believe, is sitting down to talk to the honourable lady in due course, and I look forward to hearing about those conversations.”

De Cordova, who has nystagmus and is registered blind, brought the National Eye Health Strategy Bill to Parliament for its first reading on 29 November. At the time she detailed how the bill would “improve the quality of life of people with sight loss, address health inequalities, and link up patient pathways for overall improved health outcomes” if passed.

The bill is supported by the AOP, The Eyes Have It partnership, the Thomas Pocklington Trust and Specsavers.

Reflecting on the proposed bill, chief executive of the AOP, Adam Sampson, said: “It was good to see MP Marsha de Cordova giving eye care more airtime at PMQs this week. The Government must do more to address the need for a national eye health plan to change the experience and outcomes for patients. Optometry, available on every High Street, offers a solution that could mean earlier diagnosis and access to treatment, and not leave people waiting at home for a delayed appointment that could cost them their sight. With a backlog of over 650,000 people, the time for action is now.”

The full motion to bring forward the National Eye Health Strategy by de Cordova can be read online

Watch OT speak to de Cordova about the bill during a Specsavers State of the National event in Parliament last November below.