Opticians will be able to work collaboratively with Newmedica ophthalmology consultants to manage patients with stable glaucoma in the community under a new Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) agreement now being developed.
The glaucoma plan follows the introduction last year of the first national framework agreement which enabled cataract patients to return to their community optometrist for post-operative assessment.
The agreement was announced by Richard Whittington, LOCSU Chief Operating Officer, at 100% Optical on Saturday 12 January.
He said, ‘LOCSU and Newmedica recognise the value of extending the existing agreement to include a broader range of services. As a result, we are pleased to announce that we will be introducing a stable glaucoma monitoring framework which will see Newmedica consultants and community opticians manage patients’ treatment under a shared care initiative. Work has now begun to establish the process with the view to moving into pilot later this year.’
‘The intention is that once patients are categorised as stable by their consultant they will be offered the opportunity to have their follow-up appointments in the community at an accredited optical practice. Here they will undergo all the appropriate diagnostic tests and be examined by a trained optometrist who will then make an interim decision on the next phase of their treatment using the Newmedica outcome framework. Newmedica consultants will review the test results virtually and sign off the patient’s treatment plan.’
Framework open to all
The framework will be open to all optician practices that are accredited to deliver services. This will include having the necessary diagnostic kit as well as undertaking the appropriate accreditation.
Darshak Shah, Managing Director of the community ophthalmology provider Newmedica, said: ‘At Newmedica we are delighted to be entering into an agreement with LOCSU that will be open to all accredited optometrists wherever they work.
‘We are also pleased with the progress that has been made with rolling out the post-cataract framework. In northern Lincolnshire 68% of all patients now return to their community optometrist after cataract surgery for post-operative assessment. The framework has also been integrated into schemes commissioned by CCGs in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, with most patients now seen by community practices. We are activating services in Avon, Leeds and Derbyshire where more than 200 opticians have recently completed their clinical accreditation, and we are looking forward to a number of new sites coming on line later this year.’
Pictured left to right: Richard Whittington of LOCSU and Darshak Shah and Nigel Kirkpatrick of Newmedica at 100% Optical, after the announcement of plans for a new framework to manage patients with stable glaucoma.
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