In many areas the tariff for hospital eye care services is high, sometimes because providers cross-subsidise services. Commissioners and providers need to have an adult conversation to understand why tariffs are set at particular levels and what the impact might be on the provider of changing this or providing services elsewhere.
Document Commissioning Effective and Efficient Services to Reduce Avoidable Sight Loss, produced by NHS Alliance and Novartis and published today, includes some eye-catching statistics: eye care services account for nearly one in 10 hospital outpatient appointments and 7 to 8% of all operations performed by the NHS.
Left untreated, many eye conditions deteriorate rapidly. Early intervention can save sight or prevent further loss and allow people, many of them elderly, to maintain their independence. Delayed intervention can cost them their sight.
Preserving or saving a person’s sight can reduce their risk of other adverse events, such as falling or becoming unemployed.
Most hospital activity is accounted for by four conditions, all of which are expected to increase in prevalence as the population ages; cataract, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration.
The document outlines opportunities for redesigning eye care services including the tip that CCGs should work with hospital eye care services to understand how data can help them build up a picture of the demand on services and how they are being met.
CCGs wanting to make a real difference to their population’s health could do worse than giving the guide a look.