HRH The Countess of Wessex visited the Royal Eye Unit at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust yesterday (October 2) to learn how people losing their sight receive vital support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
While touring the Unit, The Countess met Sabeena Weyhenage, RNIB Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), and discussed with her the practical help and emotional support Sabeena offers people diagnosed with eye conditions. Sabeena has been in post at the Hospital since 2017.
Rev. Martin Hislop, Deputy Lieutenant for Kingston-upon-Thames, along with Dame Gail Ronson DBE, RNIB President, Sian Bates, Chairman of Kingston Hospital, and Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of Kingston Hospital welcomed Her Royal Highness to the hospital.
ECLOs work alongside health professionals in eye clinics, and the sensory team in social services, to provide information and guidance on a range of areas, including emotional support, independent living, returning to work and benefit entitlements. ECLOs are an important part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, which delivers support to anyone affected by sight loss over the phone, online or in eye clinics.
David Clarke, RNIB Director of Services, said: “Losing your sight can be a traumatic experience and that feeling is compounded if people have to deal with it alone. ECLOs, as part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, provide vital information, advice and guidance. It is so important that patients receive the support they need, when they need it. We are honoured that Her Royal Highness visited the Royal Eye Unit at Kingston Hospital to see the invaluable work that is done here in partnership with RNIB and Kingston Hospital Charity.”
Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of Kingston Hospital, said: “We are committed to providing the best eye care for our patients. Working with Kingston Hospital Charity and RNIB to provide essential and valuable support through the ECLO service – both practically and emotionally to the clinic, when it’s most needed – is essential for our patients at the Royal Eye Unit.”
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Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.
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Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk