Visit COVID-19 resources

[Skip to Content]

NHS England Eye Care Planning and Implementation Guidance 2021-22

2 June 2021

NHS England (NHSE) has published Eyecare Planning & Implementation guidance for this financial year (2021-2022). The guidance is for NHS Regions, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) moving to Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), and NHS Trusts (hospital eye services).

Read the Eye Care Planning Implementation Guidance 2021-22 Summary Annexe

This new guidance is an annexe to NHS England’s main 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance already published in March 2021.

NHS England’s further requirements for eye care

The overarching NHS guidance already requires ‘systems’ (CCGs merging and operating alongside NHS hospital Trusts within ICSs) to reduce variation in access and outcomes by implementing whole pathway transformations and performance in three specialties: Cardiac, Musculoskeletal (MSK) and Eye Care supported by the National Pathway Improvement Programme.

This new Eye Care annexe sets out NHS England’s further requirements for eye care. The aim is to achieve what was top quartile performance against benchmarks on those pathways, and the National Pathway Improvement Programme in conjunction with GIRFT will be asked to support the development of and accredit plans as part of the national elective recovery programme.

Engaging with the planning process

As Bernie Chang, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) explains:

“Achieving real change and improvement will require every one of us to engage in the planning process and work with our management and our multidisciplinary team members. The RCOphth plays a key role in the National Eyecare Recovery and Transformation Programme and the Elective Surgery Recovery programme. The expectation is to develop highly efficient care pathways. This is a ‘chance in a lifetime’ moment we must all seize. As ophthalmologists we must actively engage with the NHSE’s regional teams and commissioners, working with the new Integrated Care Systems and eye care boards, to ensure the development of highly efficient care pathways. We urge you to make the most of this opportunity”.

The role of the National Eyecare Recovery and Transformation Programme

Building on existing guidelines and recommendations, case studies and real-life experience from innovative pathways, the National Eyecare Recovery and Transformation Programme will work to:

  1. Prevent irreversible sight loss as a result of delayed treatment and improve access to care for all based on clinical need.
  2. Deliver long-term essential transformation of eye health services across primary, secondary and community care; driving innovative, integrated, safe, and sustainable ways of working.
  3. Meet the needs of the population now and in the future, keeping patients at the centre of all decision making.