Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin calls on the government to take action on eye care and sight loss

Dudley MP Ian Austin is backing the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) campaign to highlight the importance of quality local services to help people with eye conditions.

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Austin hosted an event in Parliament to launch a new Parliamentary report in to eye care which says the current eye health system is failing patients but can be fixed if the NHS prioritises eye health and action is taken immediately.

There were almost 7.6 million ophthalmology appointments in 2016/17 in England, a figure which has increased by more than 10 per cent over the past four years. Just over half of patients told the inquiry they had experienced at least one appointment or treatment being delayed.

Patients also expressed concerns about long waiting times, problems securing appointments, a lack of continuity in their care, and poor communication from the clinic.

The report is calling for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care, local authorities, commissioners, delivery bodies, NHS providers and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to act now on eye health.

Ian Austin MP said:

“I am supporting the APPG’s and RNIB's calls to make eye health a priority in the NHS.

“Over The last couple of years I have campaigned with Dudley Resident Elaine Shaw for improvements in care for people with eye conditions to prevent preventable sight loss.

“It was great to have Elaine in Parliament this week continue her campaign. This is how politics should work. When local people raise issues like this, it’s up to their local MP to get stuck in and demand changes.”

Eleanor Southwood, RNIB Chair, said:

“Nobody should lose sight from a treatable condition simply because their eye clinic is too busy to provide care in a clinically appropriate timescale.

“Implementing the recommendations in this report will help to meet the increasing demands for eye care services, deliver strategic and joined up eye care, and reduce the numbers of patients losing their because of delays.”

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