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Election 2024 with a focus on community health

Election 2024 with a focus on community health

Last week we published the initial thoughts from FODO, which can be read here

Since FODO published The future of primary eye care last year it emerges that they intend to engage with prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) in the coming weeks and focus on the following:

  • Fighting to end avoidable sight loss due to delays in accessing hospital eye care services
  • The urgent need to rebalance priorities and investment from secondary to primary care services for the benefit of patients, the NHS and taxpayers
  • The benefits of more effective, efficient and standardised IT connectivity between primary and secondary care
  • The need to protect and advance primary ophthalmic services in England, which is far behind the rest of the UK.

FODO intends to have more detailed discussions with senior politicians in all parties, government policymakers and some PPCs about the eye care workforce and innovation where we and our members lead on the sector’s behalf.

FODO intends to launch their eye care manifesto and new animations to promote the significant benefits of a comprehensive primary eye care service.

From the politicians  

Labour’s Wes Streeting (shadow health secretary) hit the election trail this week. He said that should his party win the election they would use high-street opticians in England to ease the pressure on hospital eye services.

This was a reiterated Labour’s previous commitment, earlier in the year and is to be welcomed if it comes to fruition.

Mr Streeting wrote in the press that Labour would focus on clearing the NHS backlog and wanted the “NHS to form partnerships with the private sector that goes beyond just the hospitals”. He said high street opticians have the staff and equipment to help and the ability to tackle the 220,000 patients waiting more than 18 weeks for a hospital appointment.

Continuing on the same theme he told the BBC last week that the NHS had to do more on early diagnosis and prevention, highlighting eye care as a prime example. He said he had talked to “Specsavers who have the staff and kit. They’re ready to help with things like scans, check-ups and monitoring of conditions like glaucoma, which would free up vital NHS capacity to do the things only the NHS can do”.

Health is a key battleground in a UK general election.

One of these is the pressure on the next British Government to improve waiting times for health services. Patients have all but lost their patience. The audiology backlog for hospital-based hearing loss services for adults exceeds 20 months in some areas.

But a fresh approach might bring relief to the situation if infrastructure already existing in the high street were to become part of a national primary care audiology service, argues the retail optics and hearing giant Specsavers, whose clinical services director Giles Edmonds says there could be big returns for patients, the NHS, and the country at little cost.

Audiology Worldnews suggested that high street ear and eye care could be a release valve for NHS waiting list pressures, with Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ clinical services director and Gordon Harrison, its director of audiology, setting out the case for enhanced primary eye care and a national primary care audiology service.

Read further comments from Giles reported earlier on Opchat News Election News Bets are On – Optical News (primaryhealthnet.co.uk)

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