Essex Volunteer Campaign Coordinator, Phil Lee decided that something had to be done when he discovered that eye health was not effectively covered in Essex County Council’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) early this year.
Each local authority in England must produce a JSNA, setting out the current and future health and wellbeing needs of the local population so that commissioners can allocate money where services are needed. With eye health this means ensuring the necessary services are available to support people who lose or have lost their sight, as well as services to prevent unnecessary sight loss.
Phil told us: “I was interested because of concerns about capacity in eye clinics and threats to rehabilitation services. It seemed like the perfect time to tackle the issue as Essex Council were reviewing their Sensory Services.”
Phil contacted his local Councillor who agreed to question the Council about it, raised the issue through the Council’s Visually Impaired Planning Group and attended numerous council meetings. He kept on pushing.
Due to Phil’s tenacity, the Council have now agreed that eye health is a priority for Essex and are currently updating their JSNA. Phil is now discussing the priorities for this and how service users would like to be involved alongside local groups.