Moorfields ophthalmologist leads national review to help improve care for patients

A consultant paediatric ophthalmologist from Moorfields Eye Hospital is one of three authors behind an important national report which aims to improve care for millions of eye patients.

Alison Davis, who is also deputy medical director at Moorfields, is the co-author of the recently-published Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) national report into ophthalmology, which makes a series of 22 recommendations for improving services across England.

Alison and her fellow clinical leads – Carrie MacEwen of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and Lydia Chang of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire - visited 120 units across England in their national review of services.

Their consequent report seeks to address the widely-acknowledged challenge of rising demand for ophthalmology services due to an ageing population. Ophthalmology is already one of the busiest specialties in the NHS, carrying out 6% of all operations and booking more than 7.5m outpatient appointments across 120 trusts. Demand is predicted to increase by more than 50% over the next 20 years.

Overall, recommendations and actions in the report focus on how units treating the major sight-threatening conditions – cataract, glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy – can:

  • Optimise hospital theatre time for routine cataract surgery to enable more patients to be treated, more quickly.
  • Offer more care for age-related macular degeneration in settings outside of hospital and closer to patients’ homes, such as mobile units and community eye clinics.
  • Improve the referral process for patients with cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, to reduce the number of people attending hospital unnecessarily and ensure those who need treatment are seen more quickly.
  • Arrange for some post-surgical care to be carried out by optometrists in the community, offering greater convenience for patients and freeing up outpatient time.

 These and other recommendations in the GIRFT report have the potential to deliver cost efficiencies of up to £64m.

Alison Davis,deputy medical director and consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at Moorfields, said:“Our discussions during this review process have shown that there is an appetite for change in ophthalmology, and we are excited by the opportunities offered by the recommendations in this report.

“During our many visits, it has been fantastic to hear staff talk about the introduction of new practices and that they are already learning from their peers. We hope we can build on their good work as we bring together our findings and make a range of recommendations where we think we can make a difference.”

Read the report on the GIRFT website.

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