Sarah Joyce BEM, FODO Chair, LOCSU Director and Superintendent Optometrist
As a Superintendent Optometrist, I am fortunate to work with hundreds of optometrists and dispensing opticians.
Our teams serve a wide range of patients, often from more socio-economically disadvantaged regions, so we see first-hand how important local, accessible and affordable primary eye care services are.
That is why I am a strong supporter of our national sight testing service and protecting and advancing NHS funded eye care for all, as this will have the biggest impact on addressing health inequalities in the long run.
We have much to be proud of in England, including our national sight test service and improved access to enhanced eye care, including urgent care, cataract assessments, and referral refinement.
Today we are delivering more enhanced primary eye care than ever before in England. However, the fragmented commissioning system in England means we are trailing behind the rest of the UK, which have all done more to tackle unwarranted variation and the postcode lottery. This means providing just 1,167 NHS enhanced eye care visits per 100,000 people, compared to more than 10,000 per 100,000 people in Scotland.
In England, we now need to build on our core sight test service and with Integrated Care Boards providing the opportunity to help change happen, encourage the NHS to commission more universally accessible enhanced services based on clinical need for all patients.
Success will mean we tackle avoidable sight loss, keep people independent for longer, reduce costs for the NHS and care system, and provide tailored support to those that suffer from sight loss.
We must succeed. We stand ready to support change happen across England.
04 May 2023Back to list