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  • INSIGHT communications team

New report highlights INSIGHT as a model for using data at scale for patient benefit

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Leading eye health sector stakeholders have published a report addressing the growing problem of sight loss in the UK.


Launched to coincide with Westminster Eye Health Day, Laying the foundations for the future of eye health in England presents recommendations for enhacing patient care in the face of rising demand for eye care services.


The report also includes exemplars of best practice, including INSIGHT’s work making routinely collected eye data available for approved health research to advance disease detection, diagnosis and personalised healthcare.


Read the press release below from report authors, The Eyes Have It.






LONDON, UK, 11th December 2023 — Today on Westminster Eye Health Day, key stakeholders and experts from across the eye health sector have launched a definitive new report laying out the coordinated action required to improve eye care for patients in England.

 

Across the UK, there are over 2.2 million people living with conditions that cause sight loss.[1] There were over 640,000 people waiting to start specialist ophthalmology treatment in England alone as of September 2023, making ophthalmology one of the largest contributors to NHS waiting lists.[2] By 2050, four million people in the UK are expected to be living with sight loss, and the costs of sight loss to the UK economy are expected to rise to at least £33.5 billion per year.[3]

 

Eye care is the busiest outpatient specialty in the NHS in England,[4] and demand for eye care services is likely to grow as demographic changes mean more people are living with conditions which cause sight loss.[5] Addressing this need is one of the NHS's paramount challenges and why the eye health coalition, The Eyes Have It, has launched this report to highlight current challenges and solutions to support the NHS and improve patient care.

 

“I welcome this foundation report which sets out the blueprint to deliver access to eyecare for everyone, when and where they need it. Also, for what best practice should look like and the urgent need for the government to commit to my national eye health strategy for England. By taking coordinated action across each of the priority areas outlined in the report, I believe we can make the eye health system fit for purpose,” said Marsha de Cordova MP for Battersea and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Vision Impairment. “I thank the members of The Eyes Have It for their tireless efforts and commitment to improving eye care.”

 

The new report, Laying the foundations for the future of eye health in England, highlights key issues facing people affected by sight loss and identifies 14 recommendations for policymakers across critical themes including: data and connectivity; prevention, diagnosis, and early treatment; equity of access throughout the patient pathway; challenges faced by the eye care workforce; new technologies and treatment models; investment into research for future treatments and the availability of treatments at large.

 

Some of the key recommendations from the report include:

●       improving IT connectivity and image sharing between primary and secondary care

●       ensuring people living with sight-threatening conditions are supported by trained Eye Care Liaison Officers

●       greater utilisation and upskilling of the primary eye care workforce to deliver more care outside hospital

●       doubling funding for eye care research

 

Through the report, The Eyes Have It calls upon the Government to develop a much-needed national eye care plan for England, and coordinated action across the four nations to ensure that people living with conditions that cause sight loss receive the best care possible.


[1] RNIB. Sight Loss Data Tool Version 5.2. 2023. Available from: https://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/health-social-care-education-professionals/knowledge-and-research-hub/sight-loss-data-tool/ [Accessed December 2023]

[2] NHS England. Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times for Incomplete Pathways. 2023. Available from: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2023/11/Incomplete-Commissioner-Sep23-XLSX-4256K-77379.xlsx  [Accessed December 2023]

[3] RNIB. Key statistics about sight loss. 2021. Available from: https://media.rnib.org.uk/documents/Key_stats_about_sight_loss_2021.pdf [Accessed December 2023]

[4] NHS England. Hospital Outpatient Activity, 2022-23: All attendances. September 2023. Available from: https://files.digital.nhs.uk/C9/49D3E3/hosp-epis-stat-outp-all-atte-2022-23-tab.xlsx [Accessed December 2023]

[5] RNIB. Key statistics about sight loss. 2021. Available from: https://media.rnib.org.uk/documents/Key_stats_about_sight_loss_2021.pdf [Accessed December 2023]

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