LOCSU finds 77% of CCGs offer an urgent eye care service

Data from LOCSU has shown a 24% increase in the number of clinical commissioning groups with urgent eye care services (MECS and CUES) since start of the pandemic

eye test with male
The number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with an urgent eye care service commissioned has grown by 24% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU).

In April this year, 84 CCGs had a minor eye conditions style service (MECS) commissioned for delivery by practices. By November, this had increased to a total of 104 services commissioned, including a mixture of MECS and the COVID-19 urgent eyecare service (CUES).

Midway through the year, in July, 73% of CCGs had an urgent service commissioned, equating to 98 out of 135.

Exploring the distribution of commissioned urgent eye care services across the 135 CCGs in England as of November, LOCSU found 39% had MECS, while 38% had commissioned CUES.

The group found that 31 CCGs had moved from MECS to CUES, while an additional 20 CCGs had commissioned a new CUES service.

According to the data, 16% of CCGs had no urgent eye care service commissioned, while the remaining 7% were in discussions.

Zoe Richmond, LOCSU interim clinical director, shared that the group was pleased to see the figures, but urged, “There is still more work to be done.

“I believe people should have access to urgent eyecare from their local optical practice, regardless of where they live,” she said.

“Within LOCSU we will continue to prioritise the promotion of CUES in the hope that we continue to fill the gaps,” Ms Richmond continued.

To do so, LOCSU will continue working with the National Outpatient Programme for Eyecare Restoration and Transformation, Ms Richmond shared, “providing case studies of where CUES has been implemented and is already helping to deliver the aims of the NHS long term plan.”

Over the past week, LOCSU has been holding a series of virtual conference sessions as part of its National Optical Conference, covering topics ranging from the COVID-19 response to clinical pathways.