Investment in the development of treatments and cures for conditions causing sight loss needs to be increased. Policies that will ensure equitable and transparent access to existing therapies and new therapies that will emerge in the coming years need to be implemented. Fighting Blandness, as part of the National Vision Coalition, is central to this, working with all stakeholders in advocating for a National Framework for Vision Health in Ireland.
On December 10, the National Vision Coalition launched its General Election Manifesto. This Manifesto calls for the publication and implementation of a National Vision Strategy that will provide adequate pathways to care for people affected by sight loss, mapping their needs from diagnosis to medical intervention and rehabilitation. The Coalition is calling on all parties to commit to the inclusion of this strategy in their programme for Government.
The National Vision Coalition is asking the public to support its Manifesto and raise the issue with all candidates in the run-up to the next General Election. There are four key points you can ask your local candidates about;
1. Implementation of the National Care Plan for Ophthalmology
2. Integration of Allied Health Professionals in the HSE National Care Plan for Ophthalmology
3. Development of a coherent support service for patients / service users with blindness and vision impairment
4. Embedding of clinical research in clinical facilities
What specifically is required to achieve these key points?
- Four new Ophthalmic Surgeons
- Eight new Medical Ophthalmology posts
- Necessary support staff
- Optometrists (eight) and Orthoptists (six) assigned to Primary Eye Care teams
- A comprehensive support infrastructure that anticipates and responds to needs as a consequence of sight loss
- Provision of rehabilitation training, social re-integration, independent living assistance and access to funded technology/adaptations.
- Appointment of clinical research teams at HSE sites
- Defined research time for clinicians
- Acceptance that involvement in clinical research drives standards and improves outcomes
The National Vision Coalition is a multi-stakeholder group created by Fighting Blindness and the National Council for the Blind in Ireland (NCBI) along with healthcare professionals, patient representatives and people working in vision-related advocacy and healthcare. Click here for more information about the National Vision Coalition or contact us on 01 6789 004 or email@example.com.