In focus: Looking ahead in 2019

Clinical Practice
Key figures from within the optical industry offer their take on what we can expect for UK practices as we start the new year

David Hewlett, FODO chief executive

Q How do you expect audiology and enhanced services to grow during 2019?

Eye health and hearing are public health priorities. Yet service transformation is only really being achieved in a few places.

In 2018 NHS England Improvement said that the hospital outpatient model is obsolescent. Despite this, outdated ophthalmology and audiology models of care will be defended by hospitals while they continue to generate cash. This institutional bias for the status quo is likely to be exacerbated in England by the Long-Term Plan and the move to Integrated Care Systems.

We risk seeing sensible private-public partnerships being fractured, whilst arrangements at a local level become ever more complicated. On the front-line, services will continue to be starved of funds and whistle-blowers will continue to be derided for raising concerns. Patients and local stakeholders are unlikely to have any real idea of what is going on and services failures will be hidden. This is why it is important to continue to fight for a national demand-led sight testing and service, for community audiology and eye health services.

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