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Triple Award for School Eye Care Centre

19 December 2022

Enhanced Optical Service Award

The NHS Wales University Eye Care Centre (NWUECC) based at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences has won three national awards. The centre, which is a collaboration between Cardiff University and the Vale University Health Board, was opened earlier this year with the main aim of reducing hospital waiting times for patients requiring eye care.

In London, NWUECC was awarded the Enhanced Optical Service award in the Optician Magazine Awards. Then in Birmingham, it won the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) University of Bradford Award for cross-sector working. Finally, it also won the NHS collaboration award at this year's Health Business Awards.

Why has this centre been so successful?

The judges for the Optician Magazine Award commented that the NHS Wales University Eye Care Centre has been instrumental in driving enhanced eye care services throughout the UK and that by promoting specialist services in a primary care setting, it is actively reducing the pressure on the secondary care. The HPMA Award for cross-sector working was for an initiative that has had a measurable impact and delivered real outcomes for health service clients or customers.

Dr Fiona Jenkins, Executive Director of Therapies & Health Science, Cardiff and Vale UHB said "I am thrilled that the collaboration between Cardiff and Vale UHB and Cardiff University has led to national recognition about our optometry training, that not only develops optometric higher-level skills, but also treats patients who otherwise would have waited longer for NHS treatment. It is a win, win for the organisations but more importantly better, more timely care for our patients."

Post- Covid, the NHS was struggling to reduce the long waiting times in the hospital eye service and the University couldn’t find placements for optometrists wanting to upskill. The University and the NHS working together, and thinking differently, came up with the idea of NWUECC to solve these different but related problems.

Professor Barbara Ryan Director Postgraduate Taught Programmes and WOPEC Co-Director

The centre has enabled the University to provide an excellent training experience in a clinical environment for those optometrists wanting to upskill and gain Higher Professional Qualifications. The patients they see under supervision come off the hospital waiting lists, thus ensuring that more patients are seen in a timely manner. The optometrists with the Higher Professional Qualifications will be able to provide a much greater range of eye care services in the community, thus helping to reduce the pressure on the hospital eye service in the longer term.

Find out more about the NHS Wales University Eye Care Centre (NWUECC).

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