Ophthalmology Services in Northern Ireland have been awarded an £880K investment in diagnostic imaging technology which will help play a positive role in the COVID response and rebuilding of its services.
The investment has the potential to facilitate 40,000 diagnostic and review appointments. This will reduce the need for face-to-face consultant-led consultations/appointments. The imaging can be performed by non-medical imaging technicians who can then transmit the scans and images remotely to the managing clinician.
The bid for the funding was made via the NI Eyecare Network as part of the COVID response to rebuilding Ophthalmic Services presented to Rebuilding Management Board (RMB).
Many ophthalmic conditions including glaucoma, macular and diabetic eye diseases, are long-term conditions which require accurate diagnoses and regular follow-up.
With capacity reduced due to social distancing, infection prevention and control measures due to COVID, this new technology will allow the ophthalmology team to use “remote-where-possible” strategies.
Head of Ophthalmic Services, Raymond Curran, is confident the investment will play a very positive role in the COVID response and rebuilding of the Ophthalmic Services:
“Ophthalmology is a high demand speciality accounting for 10% of all hospital outpatient appointments.
COVID-19 has pushed the strategic direction of travel to deliver new models of care, including remote consultations and virtual clinics, and increased use of the extended multi-disciplinary teams. Diagnostic pods with state-of-the art imaging technologies will improve flows and patient pathways and ensure that patients are seen “right person-right place-right time”.
For more information on Ophthalmic services: Ophthalmic Services – HSCB (hscni.net)