Westminster event calls on the Government to prioritise eye care for patients

The Eyes Have It, a coalition of national eye care charities and professional bodies, launched its future of eye health report at the third Westminster Eye Health Day

The Eyes Have It partnership has launched its Laying the foundations for the future of eye health in England report at this year’s Westminster Eye Health Day (WEHD) on 11 December.

In the report, the six partner organisations – the AOP, Fight for Sight, Macular Society, Royal National Institute of Blind People, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Roche – set out a series of recommendations for the Government as the building blocks for a national strategy in England.

The parliamentary reception was hosted by Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea, who is a strong proponent of a national eye health strategy and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment.

This year’s House of Commons event was attended by MPs and policymakers, including Will Quince MP, former Minister of State for Health and Secondary Care, and Louisa Wickham, the National Clinical Director for Eye Care.

Carolyn Ruston, AOP Policy Director, said: “We are proud to be a part of a forward-thinking and innovative partnership. We represent and work on behalf of multi-disciplinary teams across eye care, carving out a better future for service delivery and achieving recognition for eye health issues as a national priority.”

“I am delighted that MPs and policy makers were able to come together for the launch of the ‘Laying the Foundations’ report. This vital roadmap sets out systemic proposals for a national plan for eye care. This includes a call for the necessary connectivity between primary and secondary eye care to improve the consistency of care that patients receive across the nation.”

The recommendations set out in the report include:

  • Increased IT connectivity between primary and secondary care providers and the collection of comprehensive data to support service and workforce development
  • Prevention, diagnosis and early intervention supported by consistent commissioning of universal eye care services
  • Equity of access, support and patient empowerment throughout the patient journey
  • Expansion and upskilling of the eye care workforce to deliver more clinical care outside hospital settings
  • Use of new technologies in treatment models, investment into research for future treatments and the implementation of a new approach to the availability of treatments

Writing in the foreword to the published report, the Rt Hon Lord Blunkett said: “Over the last three years, The Eyes Have It has been at the forefront of efforts to advocate for improvements to the experiences and outcomes of people living with eye conditions. By shining a spotlight on eye health, the capacity challenges within the system, and the barriers facing patients trying to access care, they have helped move sight loss up the parliamentary agenda and make progress towards a new approach to eye health. This report provides the foundations for this step change”.

Westminster Eye Health Day is organised by The Eyes Have It partnership to engage Parliamentarians on eye health issues and drive policy change to improve outcomes for patients with deteriorating eye conditions.

BBC Radio 4 InTouch attended the House of Commons event, and interviewed AOP Councillor Josephine Evans as part of a 20-minute report on the event.

The Eyes Have It report is available to read in full online.

Find out more on The Eyes Have It pages.