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RCOphth welcomes MPs and Peers to ‘Timely treatment for all patients’ Parliamentary reception

2 November 2016

MPs and Peers are asked to support equal access to timely treatment for all patients to prevent loss of vision at a Parliamentary reception, hosted by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, 2 November 2016.

People aged 65 and over are at high risk of developing blinding eye disease.  Over the last decade, there has been nearly a 40% increase in eye clinic attendances across the UK1 and eye patients account for nearly 10% of the 100 million out-patient visits in 2014/15 in England1.

Early diagnosis and successful new treatments mean that regular review appointments within the clinically recommended time by ophthalmologists cannot always be accommodated because of lack of capacity. This means that patients who are attending for chronic eye disease monitoring or treatment are not always being reviewed in a clinically safe time.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) is aware of patients coming to harm from evidence available since 2003 when 25 patients lost vision due to review delays and subsequently in reports from the NPSA, NRLS, CQC and patient surveys.  Further RCOphth research indicates this is on-going with approximately 20 patients per month permanently losing vision in the UK due to lack of timely care2.

The lack of safeguards, such as an absence of routine reporting on delayed appointments for review patients, means that hospital eye services are unable to quantify the extent of the problem or the harm coming to this group.

The RCOphth is holding a Parliamentary reception for MPs and Peers to find out more about the work of ophthalmologists and to engage with the specific issues affecting all ophthalmic patients, their constituents, and the solutions offered by the royal medical college.

Ophthalmologists will help MPs and Peers to understand how eye doctors diagnose, investigate, treat eye disease and perform surgery to preserve and restore sight to prevent blindness. The RCOphth develops standards of care, clinical guidance and practice and works with policy and commissioners to optimise hospital service provision.

Twitter: #timelytreatment


  2. Surveillance of Sight Loss due to delay in ophthalmic review in the UK: Frequency, cause and outcome, Mr Barny Foot, Professor Caroline MacEwen –