One third of HES appointments relate to glaucoma28th May 2010
Figures suggest there are some 500,000 patients in England with glaucoma or a related condition such as ocular hypertension (OHT) who require one million hospital eye service appointments a year.
Jeremy Diamond, a consultant ophthalmologists and medical director of Newmedica, points out that it has been calculated that one third of all HES appointments relate to glaucoma.
Along with those patients already in the system, an additional 500,000 new patients will require treatment for OHT as a result of guidelines announced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in April 2009.
A combination of the NICE guidelines and the lifelong need for care of glaucoma patients will increase demand.
The guidelines outline when to start treatment for glaucoma and OHT and want patients seen every six to 12 months at a time that many HES departments already face severe backlogs of patients.
There is doubt about whether there will be sufficient numbers of optometrists to offer services enough to meet demand.
Newmedica, established in 2007 to provide innovative eye-care services for NHS patients, has developed a high-volume mobile electronic glaucoma clinic, specifically to provide support to hard-pressed HES glaucoma departments.
Already, delays have been cut at one West Country hospital.
Jeremy Diamond said the service has a number of features which facilitate integration with an established hospital glaucoma department.
These include mobile units, a fully staffed clinic run by a glaucoma optometrists assisted by technicians, full assessment at every visit for patients with all clinical data managed via an electronic patient record system.
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Title: One third of HES appointments relate to glaucoma
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15011
Date Added: 28th May 2010