Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

2012 Chairmans comment

So, my second year as Chair of Sheffield LOC draws to a close. I keep thinking that surely, with so many successful schemes up and running, life on the LOC should surely slow down a bit. But it never does!

The PEARS scheme continues to provide good clinical care for Sheffield patients, at a time and place much more convenient than the hospital, when they have been referred for conditions not really requiring secondary care. A patient satisfaction audit was carried out, and feedback was extremely positive. We continue to fine tune the system, ensuring all referrals are dealt with in the best manner possible. Approximately 50% of referrals are triaged into PEARS, with about 80% of those being dealt with by the community optometrists.

The PRR scheme is now ending its second year, and is doing everything it was designed to do. There were questions raised at a year end audit as to it’s cost effectiveness, but a closer examination of the figures shows some costs were being attributed to the scheme which were not in fact correct. The scheme is delivering accurate screening by the orthoptists, and our young patients are being dealt with much more appropriately than they were 2 years ago. The scheme is delivering cost savings to NHS Sheffield while delivering excellent patient care.

The CATS scheme also is helping to cut down referrals into GRR, PEARS and secondary care.

All the schemes now use secure online reporting, which makes the admin side much easier, both for us and our colleagues at the PCT.

Some ophthalmologists have expressed concerns over PEARS and the cataract assessment scheme, so a meeting was arranged before Christmas to discuss the situation. There has been concern that the cataract assessment system might mean other pathology not being referred, despite there being no bar to referral for co pathology. It was agreed that any cataract with co pathology affecting vision should not be scored, but referred via a GOS 18 in the usual way. A revised form has been devised for this and is on our website.

The concerns over PEARS were also discussed briefly, and it was agreed that current PEARS optoms should carry out continuous training, and soon we will be asking the PEARS optoms to carry out the WOPEC/LOCSU distance learning accreditation. Although this largely reiterates what has already been done, a refresher never does any harm!

We are currently in the process of setting up an optometry Local Professional Network, which will hopefully help patients across the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw PCT cluster have a similar level of service from optometry enhanced schemes.

Next on our agenda is the monitoring of stable ocular hypertensive patients. We are talking with Simon Longstaff about how we can go about this, and this scheme should be up and running in the not too distant future. We are also looking to help out the ophthalmology department with their problems in performing gonioscopy on all patients referred for either ocular hypertension or glaucoma.

Personal thanks from me go to the rest of the LOC for their support during my second year as Chair, especially to Phil Banton and Helen Bailey for their work as secretary and treasurer, and to Deb Mullens for stepping up when Phil had to leave the LOC for personal reasons, and also to our regular guests at the LOC meetings – Richard Oliver, and Alastair Mew, and also to Lynda Liddament at the PCT for her continuing efforts. Their help and support is invaluable.

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