NHS eye care services have been gradually moving away from the model in which primary eye care services are defined solely by the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) contract. Local schemes for eye care services that enable optometrists to perform and be remunerated for services beyond GOS sight tests have been in operation in various areas of England for a number of years, but these schemes have largely gone without rigorous evaluation.
As NHS services continue to be under pressure to demonstrate efficiency savings and evidence-based performance quality, professions providing services to the NHS will need to demonstrate that services provided in various settings and ways can deliver effective, high quality care that is either more cost effective than other approaches, or out-performs them in terms of patient experience and preferences.
Informed by the College of Optometrists’ UK Eye Care Services Project, the Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project (ESEP) was launched in October 2012 to conduct evaluations of different community-based eye care service models. This project is being undertaken by a collaborative team from City University London and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, and is providing insights into how the organisation of services impacts on clinical outcomes, patient experience, and economic factors.