Improving Ophthalmology care in Greater Manchester

An enhanced Electronic Eyecare Referral System is helping improve eye care in Greater Manchester. Introduced in February 2022, the system has a new functionality that enables primary care optometrists to send high resolution photos to ophthalmologists at the hospital to aid in diagnosis, advice, and guidance.  

Optometrists are the frontline of eye care; they examine eyes for defects or abnormalities and if necessary, refer patients to hospital to see a specialist for treatment. Now, using the Elective Eyecare Referral System Optometrists can upload a picture of the eye and seek advice on how best to manage a patient’s condition. 

The system is helping to reduce patient waiting times and unnecessary hospital appointments. Where possible, optometrists are given advice from ophthalmologist’s on how to manage the patient within a primary care setting opposed to arranging an unnecessary referral.  Changing practice will result in creating additional capacity to see and treat patients who require specialist hospital care. 

In Greater Manchester over 25,000 referrals have been made since February, which is a huge achievement. The system has been positively welcomed by optometrists in Greater Manchester who in a recent survey praised the ease and efficiency in which they are able to obtain specialist advice and improve the patient experience.  

One example given was a referral made via the system to the Royal Manchester Eye Hospital at 10.30am, the patient’s information was quickly reviewed and due to the urgent nature of the patient’s condition an operation was facilitated by 13:00 pm the same day. The new electronic system enabled the referral to be facilitated quickly which resulted in a 43-year-old patient receiving immediate life changing surgery.