RCOphth responds to general election result

  • 05 Jul 2024
  • Communications team

Commenting on the Labour Party’s victory, RCOphth President Professor Ben Burton said:

“Given the scale of its victory, the Labour Government now has an unrivalled opportunity to deliver change by taking the crucial long-term decisions needed to put patient care on a more sustainable footing.

More than 600,000 people in England are currently waiting for a first appointment with an ophthalmologist, with many more waiting for vital follow-ups. This needs urgent attention and robust solutions, given an ageing population will place further strains.

We welcome Labour’s commitment to delivering NHS England’s Long Term Workforce Plan and reiterate our call for a substantial increase in ophthalmology training places to ensure a workforce fit for the future.

The new government is right to prioritise making better use of the facilities and expertise in primary care optometry. This will help ensure timely management of stable, chronic conditions. But to do this we must overcome the barriers to digital connectivity and enable frictionless information sharing between optometry and ophthalmology.

Labour’s commitment to use spare capacity in the independent sector needs to learn the lessons from the previous government’s haphazard approach, taking considered action so that independent sector capacity is commissioned in a planned way where it is needed. The focus must be on supporting a commissioning structure that prioritises preventing permanent irreversible sight loss.

I look forward to working with the new Labour Health team over the coming months on solutions that will give our patients the timely care that they need while making the best use of limited resources”.