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Keynote speech calls for expansion of enhanced primary eye care services

Keynote speech calls for expansion of enhanced primary eye care services

At the Institute for Government (IfG) annual conference today, Karin Smyth MP, shadow health minister, said the Labour party is committed to working in partnership with the eye care sector to cut waiting lists and to provide more convenient care for patients.

Speaking at the event, Karin Smyth said Labour was committed to doing more out of hospital and closer to home. Talking about eye care, she said people who wait too long for hospital appointments risk losing their sight. She said Labour would “seek to negotiate a deal with high street opticians to deliver outpatient appointments”.

FODO has welcomed this call to do more in primary eye care, reduce pressure on ophthalmology and prevent avoidable sight loss in England.

Harjit Sandhu, managing director at FODO, said: “Hospital colleagues in ophthalmology are under unsustainable pressure and patients are suffering avoidable sight loss due to delays in care. Primary eye care providers are happy to help in any way we can to provide more care outside of hospital and closer to home. Working together we can meet growing patient needs in a more sustainable way and most importantly help prevent sight loss due to delays in care.”

Today’s statement at the IfG aligns with FODO’s Principles and priorities for primary eye care, which calls for more to be done to ensure patients can access the right care in the right place at the right time to tackle avoidable sight loss.

Harjit explained: “The national sight testing service is a vital part of the national public health infrastructure and one of the most efficient and successful parts of the NHS, which must be preserved. We all want to build on this solid foundation, making the best use of our highly skilled workforce and world-class primary eye care infrastructure. Now is the time to work together to ensure everybody in England can access the enhanced primary eye care services they need.”


Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director, Specsavers said:

 “NHS Primary Care Optometrists are the ‘GPs of the eye’ but there is so much more we could do to protect our patients’ sight, keep them safe and well and take pressure off hospital services. As a leading provider of NHS Primary Care ophthalmic services, we welcome the Labour Party’s plan to make greater use of high street optometry services to cut waiting lists and provide more accessible and convenient care for patients, and stand ready to partner with NHS hospital eye services to improve patient care.”


AOP welcomes Labour plan on primary care optometry

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has welcomed plans today set out by Karin Smyth MP, Shadow Health Minister, at the Institute for Government (IfG) annual conference.

Highlighting issues within eye care, Karin Smyth cited that 619,000 patients are waiting for treatment, with 17,000 waiting for more than a year while their sight worsens.

Responding to the plans, Adam Sampson, AOP Chief Executive said: “We welcome the Labour Party’s focus on primary eye care. We are facing a health crisis in this country. This includes a hospital waiting list emergency, with growing numbers of patients facing avoidable and irreversible sight loss due to delays.

“Labour have quite rightly acknowledged the important role of primary eye care services in the community in reducing the backlog and we are committed to helping wherever we can to design services that meet demand and the needs of patients.

“Fixing eye care does not require years of investment in new facilities and staff training. Optometrists on the high street have the premises, the equipment and the clinical skills to deliver accessible, high-quality eye care. All it takes is the political vision to make sure optometry is able to provide the care patients need.”

Under the proposed plan, Labour would seek to extend eye care services in the community utilising the 6000 high street optical practices across the UK to provide more care outside of hospital and closer to home.