Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea visits local optometry practice to drive improvements to patient eye care
Marsha de Cordova will discuss the opportunities for delivering more care in the community with local eye care experts in the Battersea, Balham and Wandsworth areas
Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea is hosting a roundtable discussion with representatives from local optometry practices hosted by Karen Lockyer Optometrists, and organised by the Association of Optometrists (AOP).
The event will offer optometrists working within her constituency the opportunity to raise crucial issues impacting the profession in daily practice and discuss the developments required to improve patient care.
A key topic will be how more care can be provided in the community to take pressure off hospitals – with ophthalmology making up the largest proportion of outpatient appointments in England.
As NHS backlogs continue to soar, research by the AOP indicates that 79% of optometrists have patients who have experienced a delay of 12 months or more for an initial hospital eye appointment, follow up or treatments. Almost half (41%) of patients report being frightened of losing their vision entirely due to delays.
Insights from the roundtable will provide first-hand experiences from eye experts about the challenges of delivering eye care in the local area under the current system and the extent to which primary care optometry can provide enhanced services to reduce the burden on GPs, A&E departments and hospital waiting lists.
Marsha de Cordova, who has nystagmus, is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Vision Impairment and is dedicated to improving eye healthcare as a key proponent for a national strategy for eye care in England.
In November 2022, she put forward a motion calling for a Bill to require the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to publish a strategy for England to address the inequities in access and improve the provision of eye care services.
De Cordova said: “My lived experience with nystagmus has made me acutely aware of the need for equal access to quality eye care services as and when they are needed, regardless of where you live - yet the intense pressure on services currently has resulted in significant backlogs and a postcode lottery of care. Despite the worrying outcomes we’re seeing for many patients, England is the only country in the UK without an Eye Health Strategy that would deliver equality of access and timely care.
“With hospital services across the nation facing increasing strain and patients having to bear the brunt of those failures, it is more necessary than ever before to understand how primary care optometry is providing an essential service in the community. My hope is that an in-depth understanding of the challenges and aspirations of eye care practitioners who deliver quality eye care on the ground, aided by these discussions, will be the key to designing high-quality services that can be delivered throughout England and transform the eye care experience for patients.”
For more information, please contact Anjola Sulaiman, PR and Media Executive, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2062.
Notes to Editors
Association of Optometrists
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the voice of the optical profession, representing over 80% of practising optometrists. The AOP elevates the work of its members, safeguards their interests, and champions eye health across the UK. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk