On this day … August 1989 - From DB8 to CVI

Post date: 
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Picture of person searching through files

A century of NB - RNIB’s flagship publication, NB Online, is this year being recognised for reaching 100 years in circulation. Each month throughout the year, we look in the archives to find out what issues blind and partially sighted people have faced since the magazine started in 1917. 

With the recent launch of the new Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form, we looked back almost thirty years at an edition of New Beacon from August 1989 when a commentary of a report proposing changes to the CVI form’s predecessor, the DB8 form, was printed. 

The report, published by the Department of Health in 1989, was the outcome of a working group set up in 1987 in connection with the Department’s decision to revise form BD8, the certificate on which registration was then based. Chaired by the Department’s Priority Care Groups Division, the group drew together representatives from health, social services, consumer and volunteer sectors, including RNIB.

Detailed proposals for improving the system of establishing a person’s visual handicap and arranging for necessary rehabilitation services are among the recommendations contained in a new report ‘Co-ordinating services of visually handicapped people’.

It highlights some of the shortcomings of the present system, in particular delays before and after certification and the cumbersome nature of the system of referral from health to social services.

The core of the report is contained in the group’s proposed ‘framework’ for an improved system of collaboration, which is based on one developed by the RNIB.

The overall aim of the proposed changes is identified as being 'to provide appropriate services at the best possible time in order to alleviate distress and help people adjust positively to their loss of sight'.

The publication of the report by the Department of Health has been welcomed by RNIB's Director General, Ian Bruce, who was a member of the working group.


He said: “Rehabilitation services for blind people in many parts of the country are very poor, in particular, they are under-resourced. This report makes several recommendations which local social service departments and health authorities will want to implement. The proposals are sensible and to be welcomed – in particular they will improve co-ordination between health and social services which has not been good in some parts of the country.”

The report refers to six basic service needs which need to be met around the time of identification of visual handicap: co-ordination [of services]; identification [of needs]; information; advice and encouragement; contact and assessment; and referral. 


Improving collaboration and co-ordination
Transmission of personal information
  • A section to record essential medical information, visual acuity etc.
  • The revised form should include a consent clause about passing on details.
  • The visually-handicapped person and the general practitioner should receive a copy of the information.

Fast forward to 2017

The Certification of Vision Impairment (CVI) form replaced form BD8 in 2003.  Since then, a working group including RNIB, the Department of Health, the Royal College of Optometrists and others have further reviewed the form. The new version was released in August 2017 following consultation with a range of stakeholders.  
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