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Liverpool Primary Care Trust improves cataracts service for patients

Liverpool Primary Care Trust : 26 March, 2008  (Company News)
Liverpool Primary Care Trust has commissioned a new cataract referral scheme, which will provide a more accessible service for patients and free up hospital appointments.
The direct cataract referral scheme will be available from April 1, 2008 and allows cataract assessments to be carried out by an optometrist trained to do so at a local optician branch rather than being undertaken in hospital.

Following assessment if necessary, a patient can be referred to hospital without the need to request a referral from a GP. Cataract procedures will continue to take place at hospital.

Leonie Beavers, director of strategic commissioning said: “The new referral scheme is a much more streamlined system for patients and will ensure they are seen more quickly and at a time and in a location that is more convenient for them.”

“As patients will now be being assessed in optician surgeries it will also greatly reduce the number of hospital appointments needed for cataract referrals and based on similar schemes we anticipate this could free up over 50 percent of hospital appointments, which equates to approximately 680 appointments a year.”

Previously patients would have had to wait to receive a referral for a cataract assessment from their GP and would then attend hospital for the assessment. If treatment was necessary they would then return to hospital for surgery.

Optometrists trained to carry out the assessment at opticians must demonstrate they have met certain criteria before they can apply and be awarded accreditation status by Liverpool PCT.

At the moment 40 percent of optometrists can offer this service at almost three quarters of local opticians branches in Liverpool. Patients may enquire in their local branch for details of the nearest accredited branch.
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