Leeds LOC believes that community optometrists should provide a NHS commissioned Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS).
We feel that community optometry should be the natural first port of call for all minor eye problems.
We agree that optometrists providing such a service should be trained and accredited to a nationally agreed standard (currently provided through the LOCSU MECS training).
The service is commissioned and provided in other areas of West Yorkshire and nationally, as such providing a postcode lottery of care.
The LOC has encouraged practitioners to access the training and gain accreditation so to be 'MECS ready'.
We continue to put our case to the commissioners, but we require evidence of need for the service.
An audit of practices in Leeds during February and March 2018 shows how patients who would be eligible for a MECS service are currently being managed. Only 23.8% of patients presenting to practices were referred onto secondary care.
We need to place a value on our service by either charging them appropriately or referring them onward to another NHS service otherwise it becomes increasingly difficult to expect the CCG to do the same. The Leeds LOC and Bradford LOC have drafted a template letter for practitioners to give to patients to take to their GP or Hospital Eye Service if they are unable/unwilling to pay privately. Obviously, this is still left to the discretion of the practitioner whether they wish to use this letter.