Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has worked in partnership with the UK Ophthalmology Alliance (UKOA) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to launch a pioneering set of national patient standards designed to improve care for eye clinic patients.
The announcement means that for the first time in the UK there are national standards specifically for patients with sight problems and eye conditions. As the founding member of the UKOA, the trust has been instrumental in ensuring that the standards were developed collaboratively by patients, charities and eye care professionals, so that the patients living with sight loss and chronic eye conditions are cared for in the best possible way.
The standards make clear the importance of patient support and state that all eye clinics should have an ECLO (Eye Clinic Liaison Officer) and adhere to the RNIB ECLO Quality Framework. ECLOs work alongside health professionals to offer support and advice to people affected by sight loss in a range of areas. These include independent living, returning to work, benefit entitlements, emotional support, and coping at home. ECLOs can also assist with certification and registration to ensure that newly diagnosed people receive timely support from social care.
Melanie Hingorani, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and chair of the UKOA, said: “Patients in eye clinics and those with sight problem have very specific needs. Although there is national guidance for patient care, none was specific for eye care. This new document brings together all the relevant guidance, combined with professional expert views and what patients have told us is important, to give one comprehensive standard for patient care and patient experience in eye clinics. This is a fantastic example of how professionals and patients working together can make a difference.”
Keith Valentine, RNIB Director of Development, said: “RNIB and the UKOA have worked hard to develop these Standards. We believe they will have a significant impact on the patient journey and increase support for those in eye clinics. It can be an overwhelming experience being told you are going to lose your sight. That feeling is compounded if people have to deal with it alone. ECLOs provide much needed information, advice and guidance.”