HEIW commission qualifications that are designed to help optometrists in primary care practice. Specifically, qualifications that can facilitate management of:
By targeting these qualifications and ensuring they can be offered to optometrists working in every cluster in Wales, we will achieve national coverage, targeting a reduction in demand for secondary care across Wales.
The aim is to ensure that in each cluster area in Wales, there is an optometrist with qualifications in independent prescribing; glaucoma; medical retina.
We are also working with health boards and ophthalmology colleagues to have an increase in secondary eye care placements made available to optometrists studying higher qualifications.
The long term goal is to decrease the pressures on secondary care eye care services and ensure more patients are treated and managed closer to home whilst reducing the number of patients being sent to secondary care from optometrists in Wales.
HEIW fund courses through the advanced/extended practice education health care practitioner (AHP) funding stream. This is designed to help secondary care NHS staff access funding for courses that will make a difference to secondary care services, including those in ophthalmology.
The courses are currently advertised through the health board directors/assistant directors and key education leads.
It is recognised that the coordination of these courses for eye care needs to be joined up with the health boards and we are working towards coordinating this in HEIW.