College calls for wider participation in national audit

  • 25 Mar 2024
  • Communications team

As the latest National Ophthalmology Audit (NOD) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) audit report is published, its clinical lead, Martin McKibbin, is encouraging more ophthalmology services to take part in future audits so that more data on the care pathway is available and treatment outcomes can be standardised.

He said: “More centres participated than in the first year, with a 30% increase in number of eyes starting treatment. This increases the size of the dataset and provides more confidence in the result but we would like both the numbers of participating centres and the data quality to increase so that we can achieve a more detailed understanding of the quality of the care delivered and required.

“AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting more than 700,000 people, with 39,800 patients developing ‘wet’ AMD each year. The estimated cost of treatment for AMD alone was almost £490 million last year and the number of people with AMD is expected to rise by an alarming 60% by 2035. As AMD is such a significant public health concern it is essential that the NHS has a thorough understanding of the quality of the care it is providing and how to improve outcomes to maintain patients’ independence and quality of life.”

The audit report presents an analysis of data submitted by 66 centres across the UK and involving 26,847 eyes of 24,300 patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NvAMD) who started their treatment between April 2021 and March 2022. Treatment providers can use the information to compare outcomes with national aggregates and local peers, identify key clinical care processes and share best practice.

Key findings from this latest audit include:

  • Treatment was very effective in preserving and, to some extent, improving vision.
  • The best outcomes were observed in younger patients, in eyes with good baseline acuity and when the initial phase of monthly treatment was not delayed.
  • Treatment of NvAMD requires considerable commitment of time and resources by both patients and treating centres.
  • On average, more than two-thirds of injections were administered by nurses or other trained healthcare professionals rather than doctors.
  • Intraocular inflammation and presumed infectious endophthalmitis were both rare complications of treatment.

You can see the full findings here

Urging more services to take part, Martin McKibbin said: “National audits are important in delivering the NHS long-term plan. We believe that increasing participation in the NOD AMD audit will lead to reduced local variation in the care provided and improved outcomes for patients across the UK. Centres should work with EMR providers to improve data quality, particularly in relation to recording the date of referral from primary care, complications and the planned follow-up intervals.”

To find out how to take part in the AMD audit and benefit from the collective insights, visit Home | NOD Audit

You can find information for patients about the audit here (pdf format and Word format)