Providing services – such as MECS, repeat pressures and cataract services – at optical practices in the community decreases pressure on hospitals, saves the NHS money and allows optometrists to utilise their skills.
Community service commissioning varies across the UK.
Each Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for commissioning community eye health services individually, meaning there is considerable variation in service availability across England. See the section below on the NHS Standard Contract for further information.
Community services in Wales are nationally commissioned. Optical practices can elect to offer services as part of the Wales Eye Care Services (WECS). Further information on training, accreditation and specific services is available on the Wales Eye Care Services website.
Scotland’s General Ophthalmic Services cover many services that are considered to be community services elsewhere in the UK.
Northern Ireland introduced the Developing Eyecare Partnerships Scheme in 2012. The scheme involves development of services in response to the needs of the population, a multidisciplinary networked approach to the delivery of eyecare services and development of referral pathways between primary and secondary care.