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Ophthalmology Diagnostic Hub speeding up sight saving tests

Ophthalmology Diagnostic Hub speeding up sight saving tests

Patients who have been waiting for appointments to diagnose and treat blinding eye conditions including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are now offered an appointment at the new state of the art Ophthalmology Diagnostic Hub in Orsett Hospital.

The Trust has introduced these new clinics to allow more patients to be seen and to improve the patient experience. The first clinic, which opened at Orsett for patients in south Essex, has seen over 800 patients already, with over 300 either actively monitored or requiring follow up treatment.

Dr Aman Chandra, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Trust, said:

“The diagnostic hubs take people through a series of rapid tests, which are all completed within a 45-minute visit.  Each patient’s results are then individually reviewed online by the consultants and their teams.  Patients receive a letter informing them of their results. Some will also be offered a telephone appointment to discuss particular findings.  Patients will only be asked to attend a subsequent hospital visit if we see something which requires urgent or face to face attention.”

Patients have all their tests and diagnostics done in one go by a technician or nurse. If they have any concerns related to their eye condition these are fed back to the doctors reviewing their results. Patients are contacted by the reviewing doctor by letter or phone and informed of their findings and any change to treatment.

This new way of testing reduces the time each patient spends in clinic and the number of face to face visits, which makes the patient journey and experience more efficient.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far, with patients preferring the shorter waiting times compared to the traditional clinics. Other eye hospitals, including Moorfields Eye Hospital, have been using similar clinics to reduce waiting times and prevent blindness and this has proved successful.

A second hub is planned to open this summer in South Woodham Ferrers, which will help people in mid and south Essex to get faster appointments.

Speaking about her experience, Erma from Rayleigh, said:

“I had been waiting for an appointment for a while, the appointment team rang me and offered me one a day later at this new hub. It has been much easier to get here and less busy. We found the parking easier as well. I normally to go to Southend, but this is much less stressful.”

The Trust hopes to see at least 150 patients a week at each site and is urging people to take up the offer if they are invited.

Dr Chandra continued:

“We urge people to take up their appointment, it will reduce their waiting time and help us to pick up people who may need treatment to reduce any impact on their sight. These clinics are set up specially to diagnose people with Glaucoma and retina conditions. We set these up to ensure we reduce sight loss, so when people are offered an appointment, it will be quicker.”

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