People with minor eye problems in Dudley will now be able to receive a free NHS eye check up in a local opticians thanks to a new service, which launched on Monday 3 September at Specsavers Dudley.
Patients with eye problems, such as red-eye, sore eye or visual disturbance will be among those who will benefit from the new Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) which is delivered by local accredited opticians including Specsavers Dudley.
First port of call for eye problems
Launching the service, Chair of the Local Optical Committee, Shamina Asif, says: ‘I am delighted that Dudley optical practices, like Specsavers, will now be the first port of call for anyone with an eye problem. We have the skills, equipment and qualified staff to ensure that patients are quickly assessed and treated or referred to hospital if there is a more serious problem. This will be more convenient for patients and help to reduce pressure on the NHS.’
Specsavers Dudley store director, Gurdeep Dosanjh, adds: ‘Around 4.5 million GP appointments and 270,000 A&E visits are taken up every year for eye-related problems that can be assessed by a community optometrist. Therefore, we’re delighted to now be able to offer this NHS funded service to the local community, which along with our Healthy Living Optical Practice status and diabetic eye screening accreditation, means that we are now catering for an even wider range of healthcare and wellbeing needs of our local community.’
The new NHS services, provided by some 30 optical practices, and funded by the Dudley CCG, will help reduce GP and A&E visits. The eye check-ups – separate and different from a sight test – allow all patients with minor eye conditions to visit participating optical practices for diagnosis and help.
Local optometrists and opticians formed the Primary Eyecare Heart of West Midlands Ltd to deliver the service for patients after working with NHS commissioners to redesign and streamline local eye health pathways.
It’s part of an NHS blueprint to take services out of hospitals and make them more effective by carrying out routine monitoring in community settings, such as high street optical practices.
For more information about the eye health services and participating practices, visit the Primary Eyecare Heart of West Midlands website