Optical body Fodo called on health commissioners to better utilise community eye care services at its annual general meeting last week.
Fodo chair Lynda Oliver said the challenges for the vision sector were well set out in the Foresight Project Report by the Optical Confederation earlier this year.
She said: ‘At Fodo, we take these challenges and opportunities with deadly seriousness. They are the harsh realities – and opportunities – of where we will be able to be of value to society in the future. And, on behalf of the sector, we are not about to let that go.
‘This will involve moving rapidly to different models of practice and to wider and higher skilled clinical roles for optometrists and opticians based on a different form of education. What was once the limited preserve of hospital optometry needs to move at scale and pace into the community, with hospital optometrists and others in the hospital eye service taking on roles that ophthalmologists currently perform.
‘It is shaming for the NHS and society when we read media headlines such as “Patients are going blind – because the NHS delays vital follow-up appointments” and to hear public pleas for help by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists – and then to see commissioners looking the other way and whistling while, all the while, resources in the community go under-utilised and, in some cases, are disparaged by medical colleagues.’
Fodo also launched the first in a series of peer discussion training resources on areas of highest risk in front-line clinical practice at the AGM.
Fodo professional advisor Professor Steve Taylor designed the first pack, on flashes, floaters and retinal detachment. He said: ‘Although actual incidents are few, a small number of missed retinal detachments is unfortunately a recurring theme in front-line practice.’
Oliver added: ‘There is plenty of CET and CPD around which is already very good and we have no desire to replicate that. Our aim is to innovate and to enhance learning.