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Shadow health minister sees primary eye care in action  

Shadow health minister sees primary eye care in action 

SHADOW Health Minister Karin Smyth has visited a Specsavers community practice to see primary eye care first-hand.

The Labour MP for Bristol South visited Specsavers Kingswood in Bristol after announcing a commitment to negotiate with high street opticians deliver NHS outpatient appointments to free up hospital specialists to treat the patients in serious need, all at greater convenience to patients – and at less cost to the taxpayer.

‘With more than half a million people waiting for eye care in England, patients are at risk of losing their eyesight,’ she says.

‘This is unacceptable, and Labour will end it. High street opticians such as the Specsavers in Kingswood will be at the centre of Labour’s plans to beat the backlog. We will get high street opticians across the country delivering more routine appointments, allowing patients to be seen faster by receiving care in their community.’

Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director, says the visit was an opportunity to highlight the role of optometrists as ‘GPs of the eyes’ in the community – supported by dispensing opticians and contact lenses opticians, clinician technicians, optical assistants, and other members of the Specsavers team.

‘It was great to welcome Ms Smyth to Specsavers Kingswood to see how our expert clinicians deliver vital care daily as part of our mission to change lives through better sight and hearing,’ he adds.

‘NHS primary care optometrists are also ready and able to do more in providing more accessible and convenient care, partnering with NHS secondary care colleagues. Specsavers is committed to continuing to engage parliamentarians with this important message and always going the extra mile to support patients and the NHS.’

Neil Foster, optometry director at Specsavers Kingswood, says that he spoke to the shadow minister about how primary care clinicians are already making a difference and how new care pathway introduced locally will provide further benefits.

‘I spoke to her about the benefits of community based post-cataract schemes for patients as well as about OCT use for referral refinement and Wet AMD and swollen discs in a newly commissioned scheme in Bristol,’ he says.