To refer or not to refer

With hospital ophthalmology departments under increasing strain, the need for appropriate referrals has never been greater. The latest research from Dr David Parkins FCOptom highlights where improvements can be made.

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With a career that has included primary care optometry, NHS commissioning and serving as President of the College, Dr David Parkins’ list of professional positions and achievements is impressive. He’s currently Chair of the London Eye Health Network, a registrant Council Member of the GOC and manages a hospital medical contact lens clinic.

But of most relevance to practising optometrists is David’s research into referrals. His latest paper – The relationship between unwarranted variation in optometric referrals and time since qualification (Parkins et al, 2018) – is the culmination of years spent investigating variation in clinical decision-making. With hospital eye departments at capacity and ophthalmology now the largest outpatient specialty (NHS Digital, 2018), the need to refer appropriately is paramount. 

“This latest research is a consolidation of what I thought was happening but didn’t have all the data and evidence to prove,” David says. “This new research gives us a clearer picture.”

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