New self-advocacy pilot launches to help prevent sight loss for eye patients
13 March 2017
Patients are being helped to take care of their sight under a new pilot scheme to end cancelled, delayed or missed eye clinic appointments.
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) is trialling a patient self-advocacy project in partnership with the Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
Ask & Tell empowers patients to ask their eye doctor when their next appointment should be, and to tell reception staff so it is kept. It creates awareness with reception and administration staff in eye clinics about the importance of follow up appointments to avoid preventable sight loss. Ask & Tell also aims to encourage patients to not miss their appointments.
During the six month pilot, patients can access a range of Ask & Tell resources and information online and in the eye clinic to support them to look after their sight.
Around 20 patients a month in England experience sight loss as a result of hospital-initiated appointment delays, according to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ research ‘Surveillance of sight loss due to delay in ophthalmic treatment or review: frequency, cause and outcome’1.
Fazilet Hadi, Director of Engagement at RNIB, said:
“We’re delighted to be running the Ask & Tell pilot in partnership with the Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
“WE know it’s vital for patients to attend their eye clinic appointments and to have timely access to effective diagnosis and treatments. Delaying, cancelling or missing an appointment can lead to loss of sight, which could have been prevented.”
Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society, said:
“Understandably, patients get very frightened when their appointments are delayed or cancelled because they know the consequences. We look forward to piloting Ask & Tell and hope it will mean more patients get access to the timely treatment they need.”
Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of International Glaucoma Association, said:
“We know from our helpline and from our own research that delays to hospital appointments are increasing. Callers are anxious and stressed about the impact this will have on their condition. We are delighted to be working with RNIB, the Macular Society, and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists to highlight this issue and believe this campaign will have a positive impact on patients”.
Professor Carrie MacEwen, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said:
“The Ask & Tell initiative is a great example of providing patients with tools that encourage them to manage and understand the importance of keeping their scheduled eye appointments as advised by consultants.”
RNIB will use feedback from the pilots to inform a roll out of Ask & Tell across England later this year.
For more information about Ask & Tell, please visit: www.rnib.org.uk/askandtell
Notes to editors
The hospitals taking part in the Ask & Tell pilot are:
- Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
- Royal Blackburn Hospital
- Salisbury District Hospital
- West of England Eye Unit at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
- Great Western Hospital, Swindon
- Moorfields Eye Hospital, Old Street site, London
- Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham
- BOSU Study: Authors B Foot and C MacEwen ‘Surveillance of sight loss due to delay in ophthalmic treatment or review: frequency, cause and outcome’ http://www.nature.com/eye/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/eye20171a.html
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