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June 1 2012
Katrina Venerus (pictured), LOCSU’s director of operations and commissioning, explains to OT, why the new ophthalmic public network matters
On January 23, 2012, the Government announced that it was making eye health a public health priority. The new Public Health Outcomes Framework includes an eye health indicator which will measure the rate of sight loss through chronic glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy per 100,000 of the population.
The introduction of health and wellbeing boards has also provided a real opportunity for community eye health practitioners to push eye health higher up the agenda.
The new Ophthalmic Public Health Network which has recently been launched by LOCSU, on behalf of the optical sector, provides the tools for anyone who wants to tap into these opportunities. It enables people make the case for eye health as part of the local public health planning process, and therefore improve ophthalmic health/eye health outcomes across the whole population. The Network provides, for the very first time, a central resource to enable the latest evidence, best practice examples and the most recent projects on eye health to be shared by academics, eye health practitioners, health commissioners, directors of public health and local government officers.
David Hewlett, chief executive of the FODO and vice chairman of Action for Blind People (part of the RNIB Group), said: “This is a long overdue development. For far too long, ophthalmic public health experts and people interested in ophthalmic public health, have had to work in relative isolation. This should bring everyone together to share experiences and expertise and to build an online community and stronger voice for all those involved in eye health improvement and prevention of sight loss.”
Ms Venerus added: “This is a critical time for getting eye health on the agenda of local health and wellbeing boards and this resource will be invaluable for eye health professionals, academics and commissioners.The site is owned by you – the entire ophthalmic public health community – so needs your contribution, whether uploading useful content or taking part in a discussion forum to ensure that the site is a useful tool for all.”
To sign up for the Network
Some examples of what the Ophthalmic Public Health Network will offer
News: including latest news on topics such as the Sight Loss and Vision survey
Research and evidence (eg, the latest report from the Kings Fund on whether health and wellbeing boards are ‘talking shops’)
Innovation and good practice (eg, a report from the NHS Screening Programme which details essential elements in developing a diabetic eye screening programme)
Policy developments (eg, the latest NICE Commissioning Guide for developing services for people at risk of developing glaucoma)
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