RCGP project improves GP’s eye health knowledge

Post date: 
Monday, 23 May 2016
Dr Waqaar Shah with patient

The RCGP Clinical Priority Project on Eye Health (with a focus on ageing and sight loss) has concluded. The aims of the project were to improve GP confidence in diagnosing eye conditions early, refering patients appropriately and supporting patients with sight loss.

The three-year project, sponsored by Simplyhealth and carried out by the UK Vision Strategy team on behalf of the RCGP, had a number of outputs including:

The RCGP will also be publishing a Position Statement on eye health in the summer, to use in future policy. The project impact report is also available on the RCGP website. 

A survey was carried out at the beginning and end of the project to establish whether levels of awareness by GPs and their Practice teams have increased in terms of managing the eye health of their patients and the needs of their patients with sight loss.
The survey found that:
  • There has been a 14 per cent increase in the confidence of health care professionals and GPs to spot signs and symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
  • There has been a 21 per cent increase in the confidence of health care professionals and GPs to spot signs and symptoms of Refractive Error.
  • The vast majority of respondents (96%) who provided an answer said they knew where to refer a patient for further investigation of an eye problem.
  • There was a notable increase in GPs and other health professionals who agreed that eye health promotion and education is an important part of their role.
  • There was a 15 percent increase in GPs who reported that their practice provides at least one alternative accessible format for information regarding bookings and attending appointments, and a 16 percent increase in GPs reporting that general information about the practice (signage, newsletter, reception information) is available in accessible formats.

Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP Clinical Champion for Eye Health, said:

"The RCGP and the UK Vision Strategy have worked together to deliver a wide-ranging programme of outputs for this project. This has served to increase knowledge and confidence amongst GPs and their practice teams across the UK in spotting early signs of major eye diseases so patients can be treated or referred to specialists quickly. This will help towards the prevention of avoidable blindness and improvements in the quality of life for patients with sight loss.”

GPs or practice staff who are interested can sign up to the GP Eye Health Network (now hosted by RNIB). To access the project resources visit the clinical priority for eye health resource page