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Labour Health Minister calls for ‘direct referral’

Labour calls for direct referral in eye care

Wes Streeting MP, shadow secretary of state for health and social care, told LBC radio that he supports all opticians having the facility to refer directly to ophthalmology.

He said this could help the NHS ensure patients were treated faster and “free up GP workload and save the NHS money”. He added that where this is not in place, it was a “waste [of GPs’] time and money”.

NHS England’s latest operational and planning guidance also calls on ICSs to focus on expanding direct referral “where GP involvement is not clinically necessary”. This includes ensuring optometrists can refer directly to ophthalmology for all urgent and elective eye consultations by September 2023. .

FODO supports the principle behind this call to action and is working with sector partners and NHS England to develop and fund sustainable IT connectivity between primary and secondary eye care, although it states that it may be difficult to achieve given the current state of NHS e-referral systems

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