GIRFT ophthalmology national report

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The ophthalmology national report from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme features 22 recommendations to improve units treating the major sight-threatening conditions, including cataract, glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

The report highlights how ensuring trusts perform all routine cataract surgery in 30 minutes or less will allow even more patients to have vision-restoring treatment and could help towards potential cost efficiencies of up to £64.5 million for the NHS.

What the report found:

The report addresses the widely-acknowledged challenge of rising demand for services due to an ageing population. As one of the busiest specialities in the NHS, there are more than 500,000 ophthalmology operations every year and more than 7.5 million outpatient appointments.

The 22 recommendations — based on visits to 120 providers in England — focus on how ophthalmology units can free up capacity, enabling more patients to be seen and treated effectively in a timely way, reduce reliance on consultant-delivered care, making greater use of the wider team, and reduce the risk of avoidable sight loss and help protect people’s vision for longer.

Key measures include:

  • Optimising hospital theatre time for routine cataract surgery to enable more patients to be treated, more quickly
  • Offering care for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in settings outside of hospital and closer to patients’ homes, such as mobile units and community clinics
  • Improving the referral process for patients with cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, to reduce the number of people requested to attend hospital unnecessarily and ensure those who need treatment are seen more quickly
  • Arranging for some post-surgical care to be carried out by optometrists in the community, offering greater convenience for patients

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