Working with GPs in the community
Improving children’s eye health
17 August 2023
Divisional director for Moorfields City Road, Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, was awarded an innovation grant from the charity to find new and forward-looking ways to deliver eye care to children following learnings from clinical services post-pandemic.
During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, Moorfields could only see a few children they’d usually assess and treat in person. However, it was still critical that these children received the eye care required to protect their health and vision.
The Moorfields children’s service began carefully reviewing cases to prioritise seeing the most urgent ones - and giving advice and guidance to local GPs and optometrists on how to treat lower-risk cases in the community.
This removed the need for many children to come to the hospital.
New options for patients
Given the benefits to patients, parents and Moorfields Eye Hospital, Dr Dahlmann-Noor saw this improvement in eye care and treatment delivered in the community as a real success story to come out of the pandemic.
To keep it going, she applied for a charity innovation grant to review the success of this initiative, formalise the advice and guidance given to GPs into treatment pathways, and then look to implement these pathways as widely as possible.
All consultants and associate specialists in the children’s service across all network sites developed the original recommendations, which Annegret then took forward.
Annegret engaged with a wide range of key stakeholders and turned the agreed guidance into clear and standardised treatment advice and pathways for GPs to follow.
Integrating the views and needs of such a wide range of people and organisations initially proved tricky. Still, the results have been widely endorsed and recently published by the North-Central London Clinical Advisory Group.
This means that clear guidance and treatment pathways are now available for GPs in this area to refer to.
Expanding eye health support
The hope is that with this new guidance, GPs will feel more confident and empowered to treat more children’s eye conditions directly in the community.
This means better outcomes for children without the hassle and disruptions of coming to the hospital when it is unnecessary.
It leaves more time for the experts at Moorfields to focus on giving children with complex eye health needs the best possible care.
It took a while, but I think it’s amazing that we managed to see this through and get it out there. Once we’d cracked that initial hurdle of reaching a consensus, everyone started saying how useful it was… if this can be useful for GPs and other healthcare providers, and help give them more confidence in seeing and treating children with eye health problems in the community, then the effort will all have been worth it!
Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, Divisional director for Moorfields Eye Hospital City Road
With North-Central London on board, the next step is to engage with other healthcare centres in London to improve this new guidance further and see it taken up by all six Integrated Care Boards covering the London area.
Annegret is also hoping they can repeat the process to create similar guidance for optometrists, who have different supporting needs to GPs, given they are already eye specialists.