29 October 2012 Return to news listings
Representatives from across the ophthalmic sector were told on Friday that the sector has made significant progress towards its aims of highlighting the importance of ophthalmic public health through its focus on three key areas: knowledge, capacity and communication. The comments were made at a roundtable event hosted by the College of Optometrists on Friday 26 October - the second such meeting hosted by the College as part of the optical sector’s joint strategy to improve ophthalmic public health. The College was congratulated on 'demonstrating significant leadership' in driving this strategy forward.
Leaders from a range of optical bodies came together to debate what more should be done to address the ophthalmic health needs of the most at risk populations and to promote the importance of eye health among healthcare professionals and commissioners at a national and local level.
The roundtable was attended by more than 30 representatives from organisations throughout the eye health sector, including the the Optical Confederation, RNIB, LOCSU, UK Vision Strategy, the Royal College of Opthalmologists and the General Optical Council. Attendees also included representatives from all countries in the UK.
Attendees were also updated on the College’s Public Health Data project, led by College vice-president David Parkins and heard from three public health ambassadors about the specialist public health training they’ve received and how they’ve been able to put it into practice.
Participants discussed a range of issues, including how best to support people working in ophthalmic public health and the importance of engaging with new Health and Wellbeing Boards.
Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists, commented: "I would like to thank everyone who attended the roundtable event. Not only was this a much bigger meeting that our first roundtable but the discussion and debate was of a very high quality. I’m pleased to say that it’s clear that, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, significant progress has been made since this time last year. For example thanks to the College’s Public Health Data project we now have a much clearer view of the eye health data available. However we also agreed that more needs to be done, for example linking eye health messages to broader public health issues such as smoking, falls and dementia, collecting additional data and embedding public health education in optometry training. I very much look forward to working closely with partners across the sector to move the strategy forward.”
Anita Lightstone, Programme Director at Vision 2020 commented: “As a sector it’s important that we acknowledge the excellent progress that has been made since last year. The importance of working collaboratively and approaching commissioners and government with a unified voice cannot be underestimated. It is thanks to this approach that we have achieved the inclusion of preventable sight loss as a key health indicator in the Department of Health’s Public Health Outcomes framework, which I believe is a real breakthrough for eye health.”
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