Elderly residents’ risk permanent sight loss without urgent action on NHS eye care
Thousands of care home residents in Leicester South are going without urgent eye care
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is working with Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, to call for urgent action over the eye care provision for elderly residents of care homes in Leicester.
Eye health services to the residents have previously been provided by local Leicestershire business Jacob and Joe who specialise in providing NHS eye care in care homes via their Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians, serving 150,000 residents. But with no Government grants available in the latest lockdown and widespread cancellations due to infection rates, Jacob and Joe are being forced to cut services – leaving elderly patients without access to vital eye care and many of their staff facing redundancy.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Mr Ashworth raised concerns reported by the Association of Optometrists, and the partners at Jacob and Joe. The letter calls on the Government to immediately intervene with financial support for the eye care providers to ensure the valuable service is not lost.
Jon Ashworth MP said: “I have called on the Secretary of State for Health to provide the support urgently needed by domiciliary eye care providers so that they can continue to provide this invaluable service. The Secretary of State must meet with the Association of Optometrists to enable Jacob and Joe Ltd, and all domiciliary eye care providers, to continue trading and meet the needs of care home residents.”
Zainab Suleman, optometrist and founder of Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians said: “We’re devastated about having to make this decision. Many of our elderly patients have significant problems with their eyes which require constant monitoring and treatment. Conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma cause permanent sight loss if left undiagnosed and untreated – and some of these patients simply haven’t had proper eye care in two years. For these people, whose health and mobility are already limited, simple things like reading, watching television and seeing their loved ones is a lifeline.
Ms Suleman added: We’re desperate for some intervention that will mean we can keep helping the patients who need our care – care that is just as vital as seeing your GP or community nurse.”
While primarily a local matter, the issue reflects a wider set of cases which the Association of Optometrists has raised with NHS England.
For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.
An image of Kindsight Domiciliary Opticians founders Zainab Suleman and Asma Patel is available via this Dropbox folder.
Notes to Editors
Association of Optometrists
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk