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The Eyes Have It calls for national eye care strategy

The partnership wants NHS England’s new national clinical director for eye care to ‘tackle delays and fragmented care for eye patients’

eyes have it lead

The Eyes Have It partnership is calling on NHS England’s newly appointed national clinical director for eye care to prioritise reducing “delays and fragmented care for eye patients.”

The group emphasised that “many patients could be losing their vision due to delays in NHS diagnosis and follow-up care after referral.”

It encouraged Louisa Wickham, who took up her role as national clinical director for eye earlier this month (July), to implement a national strategy for eye care.

Wickham is a consultant ophthalmic surgeon and medical director of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The Eyes Have It is a national partnership of eye care organisations that works to improve the lives of those with eye conditions and includes the AOP, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Macular Society, Fight for Sight, and Roche Products Ltd.

In June, the partnership led a roundtable discussion with leading clinicians, policymakers, and patient organisations that covered issues around patient support after referral, inconsistent commissioning processes from primary to secondary care, deficiency in support and funding for clinical eye research, and the fact that a lack of national, standardised data is preventing effective national planning.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Macular Society director of services, Stephen Scowcroft, said: “We believe a clinically-led national eye care strategy that prioritises maximising capacity in NHS eye care services is needed to better support people experiencing sight loss.

“Taking action to maximise capacity in eye care services is vital for ensuring patients are seen in the right place and at the right time, whilst also supporting the ophthalmology and optometry workforce.”

Scowcroft called Wickham’s appointment “a really positive step forward, that gives the eye care community a new opportunity to better support patients and provide them with the practical and emotional support they need.”

Aside from urging Wickham to create a national strategy for eye care, the group is also calling on stakeholders and professionals working in eye health to show their support by making a pledge on their website.