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Westminster Health Forum seminar: Next Steps for eye care services and treating visual impairment

2 November 2017

Mike Burdon, Melanie Hingorani and Laura Coveney (RCOphth Policy Researcher) joined leaders from across the eye health sector at this half day seminar on 24 October 2017 to discuss quality, innovation and STPs.

Mike presented an overview of The Way Forward research we published earlier this year. Mike described the impact that our ageing population and successful new treatments appear to be having on eye care services, and why we must act now to address capacity issues. The research raised key areas that the hospital eye services are struggling with such as inappropriate referrals and insufficient physical space, and how a key to addressing these are through new ways of working such as upskilling AHPs and virtual clinics.

These findings were supported by the CCEHC’s Chair and Vice Chair, Parul Desai and David Parkins.

David shared the work he is leading as Local Eye Health Network Chair for London with commissioners in the capital to improve population eye health needs assessments, develop community ophthalmology models and implement integrated care pathways.

Parul Desai, Moorfields ophthalmology and public health consultant, set out aspirations for streamlining public health indictors with eye specific data at a national level to support meaningful conversations among clinicians, commissioners and policy makers. Adopting this would raise the profile of eye health, shifting the perception that eyes are separate to our overall health and wellbeing.

The following presentations addressed other aspects of the system, from engaging STPs and emerging accountable care organisations, to solutions for improving referrals and information flow between primary and secondary care.

The conclusion was that the eye health sector must work together more effectively to deliver integrated services that ensure patients are seen in the most appropriate setting and at the right time.