Dear FOI officer
The British and Irish Orthoptic Society on behalf of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning are writing to make an open request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
There is a national recommendation, by the UK National Screening committee, to offer orthoptic-led vision screening to children at aged 4-5 years, mainly to ensure that amblyopia (reduced vision), is detected and treated at an age where treatment has the potential to improve vision.
Public Health England introduced service specifications for a Vision Screening Service in 2017. We are concerned that a Vision Screening service is currently not being offered to all children aged 4-5 years in England leading to inequality of eye health care provision.
We are aware that the responsibility for commissioning 0 - 5 year children’s public health services has transferred from the NHS to Local Authorities; and that in addition there are to be significant cuts to Local Authority Public Health funding which may affect these services
We would be grateful if you could answer the following questions (for the financial year 2019/2020) to determine the arrangements made by your local authority to commission vision screening for your eligible resident population and it’s quality assurance.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Secretary to the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning
1. Do you currently commission vision screening in school of children aged 4-5 years old? Y / N
If YES, would you please:
2. List the key features of your commissioned screening service:
a. Settings (e.g. school).
b. Screening personnel (e.g. orthoptist, school nurse or other health professional).
c. The onward care pathway for children who fail the vision screening.
d. The quality assurance (QA) processes (audit) and identified clinical lead for the vision screening service
3. Tell us how you monitor if every child in your Local Authority has been tested (including those in private schools or those who are home-schooled).
4. Tell us whether the programme will be commissioned again in the next financial year
5. If NO- you do not currently commission a vision screening service in your area, would you please tell us :
a. why you do not commission vision screening?
b. whether a service is planned for the next financial year (2020/21)?
c. whether an existing service in your area has been recently decommissioned."?
Dear Mr Denève
With reference to your recent Freedom of Information query, please find our response detailed below.
Wirral Council commissions a school based vision screening service for children aged 4-5 years old.
The service is an orthoptist led vision screening service and delivered by trained staff (trained to both deliver the service and interpret the results). Where appropriate a referral will be made to the joint Orthoptic/Optometry clinic so that the child can be seen at the nearest community location to the child’s post code for further assessment and treatment. In line with other screening programmes 10% of all ‘passed’ children screened will be re screened by the qualified lead Orthoptist for quality assurance and audit purposes.
The service is monitored against key performance indicators which includes screening 95% of the eligible population each year and will continue to be commissioned in the next financial year.
We trust this response answers your queries.
Principal Information Management Officer
Business Management - ICT
Tel: 0151 691 8201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]
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