The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked new ideas in clinical service delivery and healthcare across the NHS. The expanded use of technology such as video consultations and remote monitoring will likely complement face-to-face patient care into the future.

Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor has been awarded an innovation grant to look at possible future pathways of delivering children’s eye services - combining integration of primary and secondary eye care, new technologies and clinical efficiency. 

The project

To support children’s services at Moorfields during the pandemic, video consultations provided opportunities for patients and their doctors to see each other without having to travel. The use of smartphone apps allowed some parents to check children’s vision remotely. GPs and optometrists played a key role in referrals and with more advice from ophthalmologists, they could further support patients. 

This project aims to take these observations further. Learning from this experience, consultant ophthalmologist Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor and her colleagues will investigate a continuation of new options. This includes GPs and optometrists seeing some children while using smartphones and optician’s tests when referring them. They will offer more advice to help treat children safely and support families. 

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72,681

children and young people (under 16 years old) attendances per year at the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre

Finding a solution

The team will prepare information for patients, GPs and optometrists. They will also outline pathways and decision-making tools for a consistent approach to referral, management and discharge by healthcare professionals. This approach has the potential to enable more children and young people to be cared for in the community. 

Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor with a paediatric patient

The project will collate evidence on when GPs and optometrists refer children, when the hospital reviews the referral and when clinicians see children remotely or face-to-face. Annegret and her team will compare children attending remote appointments with hospital visits and form a discussion group among clinicians and families to share their experiences. 

The potential

This work could provide evidence to support new ways of working. These could benefit families with younger children because they will no longer always need to travel to and from hospital to attend face to face appointments. Having clearer decision-making tools can also benefit the hospital in ensuring each team member can provide safe care to children.

Furthermore, there may be more time to deal with severe and complex cases. GPs and optometrists would benefit, because they will be able to deal with many eye problems in children and young people in the community setting. 

Project Details

Funding scheme

Innovation grant

Grant holder

Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor

Area(s) of work

Paediatrics, Service improvement, Patient experience

Award level

£17,913

Start date

August 2020

Grant reference

GR001220