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#OutOfSight campaign news: A step forward

Our message urging the need for effective vision rehabilitation is starting to be heard judging by the Government’s first formal response to RNIB’s #OutOfSight campaign.

Health Minister Maria Caulfield tells us - in line with one of our four policy asks - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) should consider whether to create quality guidelines for the provision of effective vision rehabilitation.

This update comes as our #OutOfSight campaign petition, which calls on UK political parties to commit to ensuring blind and partially sighted people get the vision rehabilitation support they're legally entitled to, has surpassed 15,000 signatures, thanks to your fantastic support.

The Department of Health and Social Care was responding to a letter from RNIB, in which we set out what needs to change to improve vision rehabilitation as well as sharing our research and experiences from blind and partially sighted people.

It was good to see each of our points being acknowledged in this detailed response. RNIB stands ready to support in the creation of these quality standards, and we hope to engage with NICE throughout the review of vision rehabilitation.

“Thanks to the incredible support more than 15,000 people have shown by signing our petition we are starting to make progress," Eleanor Thompson, RNIB’s Interim Director of Campaigns explains. “But, although the response is a step forward, this is only a start. We need each of the main political parties to commit to specific actionsto make timely, high quality vision rehabilitation support for all a reality.”.

Until then, blind and partially sighted people in England will continue to wait months, or even years, for a vision rehabilitation assessment and delivery of the subsequent support.

Why quality standards for vision rehabilitation are needed

  • There is no set universal standard of what good vision rehabilitation should look like, which is reflected in the experiences of blind and partially sighted people.
  • Although the 2014 Care Act makes the provision of vision rehabilitation a statutory duty as part of wider rehabilitation services, rules around quality standards, and legislation around regulation and data collection, have not kept pace.
  • In other areas of health and social care, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) sets clear quality standards to define good service. These standards guide commissioners in commissioning and shaping services as well as ongoing quality assurance.
  • Clear, defined standards would enable both local and national oversight of vision rehabilitation performance, which would be a step towards ending the current postcode lottery of support across England.

A step forward but still much more to do!

We welcome this positive update and thank everyone who has helped drive the campaign forward by signing the #OutOfSight petition. If you haven’t added your name to our petition yet, it only takes a minute.