National eye health strategy

Marsha de Cordova MP brought forward a national eye health strategy bill in the House of Commons on 29 November

A bill calling for a national eye health strategy was brought before Parliament by Labour MP Marsha de Cordova.

De Cordova, the MP for Battersea and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Vision Impairment, put forward a 10 Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons.

The bill aims to improve eye health outcomes, reduce waiting times and address health inequalities by providing quality care through linked up patient pathways, as well as ensuring that skills across the eye health workforce are utilised. The bill reflects calls made by us as part of the Eyes Have It partnership.

De Cordova’s related Early Day Motion remains open and members can encourage their local MP to support by signing it.

Earlier this month de Cordova, spoke to OT about the plans and why a national strategy in England is needed: “We are currently facing an emergency when it comes to eye care and eye health in the UK.

“In Scotland and Wales, we already have strategies that appear to be working well. I would like to see us in England adopt some of that best practice to ensure that regardless of where you live in our country, you will be able to receive good eye care treatment. We just need to have the will to get it done” she said.

Responding to the bill, Adam Sampson, AOP Chief Executive said: “A backlog of over 640,000 people on NHS ophthalmology waiting lists trying to access specialist eye care is a clear indicator that action must be taken now. Government must address the needs of people awaiting diagnosis and treatment that could cost them their sight.”

“With practices on every high street, optometry offers a pragmatic solution to the workforce challenges we are currently facing as well as the access issues that many face up and down the country without consistent commissioning or a national approach. We hope this motion will be a catalyst for positive change, helping to transform the experience for patients.”

The bill is scheduled for a second reading on Friday 3 March.