RNIB, local sight loss societies and eye health professionals in the East Midlands are challenging Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group's decision to remove low vision assessments last year.
Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has decommissioned their Low Vision Service, citing in their Quality Impact Assessment that RNIB provides support, information and sells vision aids. However, RNIB do not offer a low vision assessment. Claire Lawrence, RNIB Campaigns Officer for the East Midlands, provides an update on the campaign so far:
“In September 2017 it was bought to our attention that Lincoln CCG had removed low vision assessments. This type of assessment enables visually impaired people to make the most of their remaining vision through identifying suitable aids and support equipment that they might require in order to live independent lives.
“There appeared to have been little consultation about this decision and many sight loss organisations contacted us about it. As the new RNIB East Midlands Network had just been put in place, we took this as an opportunity to develop links with all the other sight loss organisations and eye health professionals in the area. Rather than working independently, we have united on this issue.
“We organised a meeting with all the interested parties including key members from Local Sight Loss Societies, National Groups such as Guide Dogs, Vision UK, Macular Society, Visionary and Blind Veterans UK. The meeting was organised and chaired by RNIB but all decisions were made as a group.
“The first stage of the campaign was to send out letters to the CCG from each member of the group. Each letter was based on a template with the same message requesting a face to face meeting, but each member adapted their letter to give their specific feeling on the removal of this service. The letters were all posted on the same day and we are now awaiting a response.
“In terms of results, we don’t know if it will be a successful campaign yet, but it’s an example of how if the sector all pulls together, we can have a stronger voice. One organisation co-ordinates but enables us to campaign on local issues with a collective voice and power.”
“We’ve had no response at this point, so watch this space but we do have plans in place for next steps whatever the outcome.”