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Kathryn Trimmer, FODO Scotland Chair, Optometry Scotland executive member, Optometrist in NHS Grampian, Scotland.

Kathryn Trimmer, FODO Scotland Chair, Optometry Scotland executive member, Optometrist in NHS Grampian, Scotland.

Where I work in NHS Grampian, we have a long history of making the best use of the local eye care workforce and infrastructure, helping provide all patients with access to timely care close to home.  As a result, primary care services here are some of the most advanced in the world.

Our success builds on the foundation of the national GOS contract in Scotland, which provides comprehensive NHS-funded primary eye care at the point of need and access to additional diagnostic procedures.

In 2010, NHS Grampian went further by establishing enhanced service contracts for anterior uveitis, marginal keratitis, herpes simplex keratitis and foreign body removal. This has enabled more patients to be seen more quickly and reduced GP and hospital visits. This has also normalised primary eye care as the place to go if you have a vision or eye problem, and optometrists like me are now the first port of call for eye conditions for people in my area.

This was all made possible by putting patient needs first. The commissioning, funding, and engagement across a multidisciplinary cross-sector team then delivered on a vision to make change happen in the best interest of our patients. So it has been a system-wide effort, and we are all feeling the benefits.

-       Patients are happy as they get to see someone sooner and closer to their home.

-       GPs are happy as it has reduced pressure for appointments.

-       Ophthalmologists, secondary care and the government are all happy because need is met quickly and efficiently and pressure in the system are reduced in the immediate term and for the future.

It works well and can be replicated across the UK, as community optometrists all have the same core training, qualifications and skills. We know the model works; we know it can be done elsewhere. it is about spreading best practice. FODO and its members will be doing more to make that happen in the years ahead.

13 March 2023

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