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Evaluation of a minor eye conditions scheme delivered by community optometrists

Baker, H; Konstantakopoulou, E; Harper, RA; Edgar, DF; Lawrenson, JG; Sutton, M; Janikoun, S; (2016) Evaluation of a minor eye conditions scheme delivered by community optometrists. BMJ Open , 6 (8) , Article e011832. 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011832. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The establishment of minor eye conditions schemes (MECS) within community optometric practices provides a mechanism for the timely assessment of patients presenting with a range of acute eye conditions. This has the potential to reduce waiting times and avoid unnecessary referrals to hospital eye services (HES). OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness, impact on hospital attendances and patient satisfaction with a minor eye service provided by community optometrists. METHODS: Activity and outcome data were collected for 12 months in the Lambeth and Lewisham MECS. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was given to patients at the end of their MECS appointment. A retrospective difference-in-differences analysis of hospital activity compared changes in the volume of referrals by general practitioners (GPs) from a period before (April 2011–March 2013) to after (April 2013–March 2015) the introduction of the scheme in Lambeth and Lewisham relative to a neighbouring area (Southwark) where the scheme had not been commissioned. Appropriateness of case management was assessed by consensus using clinical members of the research team. RESULTS: A total of 2123 patients accessed the scheme. Approximately two-thirds of patients (67.5%) were referred by their GP. The commonest reasons for patients attending for a MECS assessment were ‘red eye’ (36.7% of patients), ‘painful white eye’ (11.1%) and ‘flashes and floaters’ (10.2%). A total of 64.1% of patients were managed in optometric practice and 18.9% were referred to the HES; of these, 89.2% had been appropriately referred. First attendances to HES referred by GPs reduced by 26.8% (95% CI −40.5% to −13.1%) in Lambeth and Lewisham compared to Southwark. CONCLUSIONS: The Lambeth and Lewisham MECS demonstrates clinical effectiveness, reduction in hospital attendances and high patient satisfaction and represents a successful collaboration between commissioners, local HES units and primary healthcare providers.

Type: Article
Title: Evaluation of a minor eye conditions scheme delivered by community optometrists
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011832
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011832
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1530918
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