Bill Harvey: I want to ride my bike
Author: Bill Harvey
Here we go again – welcome to the new CET cycle.
The turn of the year saw a range of news items offering, some would say much needed, distraction from the impending big day (now known in the Harvey household as B-Day). The intangible drone attacks were some diversion. More importantly, this week we have seen something of the proposed 10-year plan for the NHS which has been supported by some much needed investment.
Obviously, there will be some impact on eye care, and surely most significant will be a continued recognition of the key role of the primary care community in reducing hospital overload, increasing patient access to services and reducing waiting times for treatments.
The media have focused on two areas. Firstly, there have been sensational headlines about online consultation and ‘cyberdoctors’. The use of digital technology in data capture and communication will increasingly be used in eye care, and I think we should accept and embrace new developments allowing us to screen ever more patients while maintaining information channels with hospital colleagues. Telemedicine is a good thing.
Secondly, there has been a repeat of the support for disease prevention, first touted five years ago but yet to take hold due to the continued stranglehold from commercial and financial interests (food, leisure facilities, education, blah, blah, blah). A hopeful sign that this may now be a priority was a NICE recommendation last week that town planners ‘should develop policies and initiatives to ensure that safe, convenient, inclusive access for pedestrians, cyclists, and people who use public transport is maximised.’ Help for the visually impaired was one specification. To see NICE, more usually associated with drug funding, introducing a draft quality standard for encouraging physical activity within the general population is a significant step. All the more welcome as I got a bike for Christmas.