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Experts celebrate primary eye care success in Scotland

Experts celebrate primary eye care success in Scotland

An expert working group has published its review of the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) contract in Scotland. The group said: “Before 2006, approximately 25% of acute emergency eye cases were managed within a community setting whereas in 2018, over 80% of acute eye conditions were managed by community optometrists.”

To maintain Scotland’s status as a world-leading primary eye care service, the report recommends that:

• Universal access to NHS funded eye care should remain, as this has supported equality in access, early detection and monitoring of health conditions, and improved service efficiencies within primary and secondary care

• There should be a rolling three-year funding settlement with the Scottish Government to support current services and further innovation, with an inbuilt minimum of 3% per annum, in real terms, on the fees for each item of service delivered

• More needs to be done to support the use of innovative technologies like Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in primary care, ensuring best practice models like those in Grampian and Lanarkshire are rolled out nationally, improving access to domiciliary services and training and education.

The group has also called for establishing RNIB’s “Low Vision Plan” which is reflective of the Welsh Low Vision Service to ensure “equitable and consistent service provision across Scotland”.

James Adams, Director at RNIB Scotland, said: “Optometrists can spot the first signs of sight problems when impairment of vision can be arrested or even reversed – it is therefore crucially important to promote the uptake of free eye examinations in Scotland.”

FODO Scotland Chair Kathryn Trimmer said “I am delighted to see input from all sectors in this comprehensive report. All with the shared aim of continuing and building on the excellent service provision in community Optometry in Scotland”

Read the full Policy Report.