Many of the UK's finest optometrists recently met with the House of Lords' Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS Committee. These eye doctors believe massive changes need to take place in order to better serve the UK's eye care needs. Some of the highlights of their proposals include better IT programs, easier access to the NHS central database, and more professional ophthalmological facilities across the UK.
This House of Lords' committee is now only hearing verbal submissions from these optometrists. A few of the documents from these proceedings have been released to the UK's general public.
The College of Optometrists told members of the House of Lords that they needed to increase the strength of ophthalmology departments across the country. To combat the rise in eye problems from an increasingly aging population, eye care professionals need more ophthalmological facilities and better ways to get in contact with members of the broader NHS.
One of the major points the College of Optometrists talked about in their submission was the lack of IT support optometrists and ophthalmologists currently have. The College said that increased IT infrastructure would help eye care professionals across the UK collect and send patient information with greater efficiency. A stronger IT platform would also help the eye care community more fully integrate into the NHS as a whole.
Eye care professionals across the UK are watching these proposals very carefully. Many optometrists and ophthalmologists believe the decision the House of Lords makes could be monumental for their practices. With increased investments in the eye care sector, many eye doctors believe the quality of their patient care could be greatly enhanced. Eye doctors would be able to send and receive referrals, charts, and data from all their patients if they had greater connectedness to the rest of the NHS system.
Unfortunately, the NHS continues to be beleaguered by massive deficits, and it is unclear if the committee will be able to support all the suggestions made by the optometrists. In their most recent report, the NHS stated that they were under a £1.85 billion aggregate deficit.
The College also told the House of Lords that the current model of eye care wouldn't work if it was left unchanged for too long. Many UK citizens are living longer, and that means many are in desperate need of eye care. Without increased investment in the eye care sector, more people could potentially lose their vision.