Getting eye care right first time

Post date: 
Thursday, 5 March 2020
Eye health campaigning
Patient being examined by an optometrist using a slit lamp during an eye check

An NHS improvement programme has launched a report on improving the treatment of sight-threatening conditions in England.

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) report on ophthalmology highlights 22 recommendations to improve the treatment of sight-threatening conditions in England.

Increasing demand for eye care services

Ophthalmology is the busiest NHS specialty in England, with 7.5 million outpatient appointments and 500,000 operations per year. We’ve been making the case for improvements to eye care services, so they can better keep pace with demand. And this will only become more important, as we forecast a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with sight loss by 2030.

Recommendations to improve treatment

GIRFT is an NHS improvement programme designed to improve the quality of care. Launched at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the GIRFT report recommendations included: 

  • Improvements to cataract surgery, with specialist high street optometrists providing care after surgery, closer to patients’ homes.
  • Improvements to prioritising patients by risk.
  • Improvements to referrals for eye care, making sure people who need to see a consultant get seen faster, and safely preventing unnecessary appointments.
  • Better use of eye care staff, such as training non-medical staff to perform injections for AMD.
  • Offering some monitoring and treatment in community settings.
  • Improving the collection, quality and use of data.

After the launch reception, RNIB’s Policy Manager, Helen Lee, said:

“This is a valuable piece of work, and there is commitment across the eye care sector to transform eye care services. We need to ensure there is sufficient capacity within the system to meet current and future demand, and we’re calling on the Government to adequately fund service redesign, so all patients receive sight saving treatment when they need it.” 

Find out how you can take action to improve NHS eye care services in England, and help stop unnecessary sight loss.