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Alessi praises new guide to commissioning high value eye care

14 February 2013

Dr Charles Alessi has welcomed new guidance for commissioners of eye care from the College of Optometrists and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Written by leading eye care clinicians with support from experienced clinical commissioners at the National Association of Primary Care, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Department of Health’s Right Care Team, it will provide valuable support to those designing and delivering eye care across the UK. The guidance published today focuses on services for glaucoma. In the coming months, the Colleges will publish their recommendations on improving services for: age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, low vision, oculoplastics and urgent eye care.

Dr Alessi, senior adviser to Public Health England and Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care and NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “These new recommendations should be the first port of call for clinical commissioners who want to make the most of the great opportunities to improve eye care across the country. The NHS spends over £2bn on eye care in England alone, and this practical guidance brings together the most up to date evidence and insight about how to organise services as effectively and efficiently as we can”.

Mr Richard Smith of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists explained how the guidance could improve the eye health of patients. “Glaucoma affects half a million people in the UK who need lifelong support to save their sight. Detecting the disease and helping people to manage it over many years is a huge challenge. This guidance shows how relatively simple steps like maintaining a register of people with or at risk of glaucoma can lead to major improvements in the quality of care”.

Dr Cindy Tromans, Chair of the College of Optometrists, praised the joint approach that saw optometrists, ophthalmologists, GPs, patient groups and commissioning experts come together to produce the guidance. “People with eye conditions need a range of services in hospitals and in the community. It is impossible to integrate that care unless all the professions involved in delivering it work together. Working so closely with ophthalmologists, GPs and commissioners on this guidance was extremely rewarding and I would urge our colleagues to do the same at local level to see how our advice can help them improve eye care for their patients”.

The guidance has been published on the websites of the two Colleges and is free to access. Please see www.college-optometrists.org/commissioning and www.rcophth.ac.uk/commissioning.

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Notes to editors

The College of Optometrists is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. Supporting its 13,000 members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is the professional body for ophthalmologists in the UK. The Royal College maintains standards in the practice of ophthalmology for the benefit of the public, works to educate medical practitioners and advance the science and practice of ophthalmology and promote and publish research in ophthalmology and related subjects.