Tools for planning and commissioning

The CCEHC has designed frameworks to help commissioners and providers improve patient flows and ease capacity issues with service systems.

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These tools support strategic planning, commissioning and provision of services, and their organisation and delivery to facilitate improving patient flows and easing capacity problems within service systems.

NHS Long Term Plan – Priorities for Eye Care

The eye health and sight loss sector has identified the challenges facing eye health and eye care services. The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) sets out the priorities for healthcare over the next ten years and how the NHS funding settlement will be used. It calls for a new service model for the NHS, different ways of working harnessing new technologies and interventions to improve care and outcomes for patients and population health; and to support healthy ageing. The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) presents priorities for how the LTP can be delivered for eye health and care through the collaborative efforts of commissioners, service providers and clinicians.

SAFE - Systems and assurance framework for eye health 

SAFE presents the core constructs and technical tools to support high level, strategic planning, commissioning and provision of eye health and care services. It provides the basis for commissioners, provider organisations and clinicians to adopt a systems-based approach, covering whole pathways and working across traditional service footprints, to deliver efficiencies and transformation at scale. The clinical areas currently covered by SAFE include cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration: 


The frameworks developed by the CCEHC are aimed at improving patient flows within a service system and easing capacity problems within the hospital eye service. These provide the overall architecture for how pathways of care within a service system are organised, delivered and monitored, based on clinical risk stratification of a patient’s condition and the skills and competence of the health care practitioner.

Primary Eye Care Framework (2016, updated 2018)

Primary Eye Care services are commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to improve the quality of referrals for specialist ophthalmic opinion (usually within the Hospital Eye Service). They include supplementary services that are necessary prior to referral.

Community Eye Service Framework (2020)

A Community Eye Service is a locally commissioned (by CCGs) outpatient service for the assessment, management and monitoring of patients with less complex eye conditions and long term conditions at low risk of deterioration that do not require hospital intervention. The service may operate on a referral basis from primary optical practices, GPs, other community-based health professionals and secondary care. Depending on access in the local area, it might also be appropriate to accept self-referrals which exceed the criteria for a primary eye care service. The service should be delivered by a community of multidisciplinary eye health professionals in the most appropriate settings to provide accessible, timely, high-quality network of care to patients across traditional health sector boundaries.

Low Vision, Habilitation and Rehabilitation Services Framework (2017, updated 2018)

The services required to support patients with varying levels of sight impairment and sight loss straddle health and social care and are integral components of eye care pathways. This framework serves to ensure these are not overlooked and provide consistency in their commissioning and provision. These services are commissioned by both CCGs and Social Services.


Commissioning and provision of low vision assessment services in England

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning conducted a survey on the commissioning and provision of low vision assessment services in England. Highlighting the need to review services, the CCEHC has made recommendations and calls for low vision services to be included in system recovery and transformation planning.