As you may be aware, we have various pilot schemes happening at the moment. Our glaucoma referral refinement scheme is up and running, and results are very promising with a large proportion of low risk glaucoma cases being managed within the community by the patient’s own optometrist. This is a perfect example of the government strategy “Transforming Your Care”, which aims to relieve pressure on secondary care, by treating certain conditions in primary care. Patients of course love it as it means they can be treated on their doorstep instead of travelling to hospital outpatients.
Care pathways are being looked at for further referral refinement for glaucoma, post cataract, acute red eye and diabetic screening. Local optometrists all have a role to play in this. When these LES (Local Enhanced Scheme) are approved they will go to tender. Optometry Northern Ireland have taken the decision to form a company so that our members can tender for these services. For this to work, we need to have everyone on board (part of commissioning requirement will be to have availablity in all regions).
This will be discussed at our forthcoming AGM (date to be confirmed).