Healthwatch York have published their report on people’s experiences of sight support services in York.

In developing the report, they surveyed people with sight loss, speaking to both those who received support from an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) and those who didn’t. They also surveyed staff working in the ophthalmology department at York Hospital and social care staff supporting people experiencing sight loss. The ECLO service is currently run by MySight York, a local Charity. At this moment it is funded from a variety of sources including statutory and charitable organisations.

The main findings were:

  • The ECLO service supports people in many different ways, including:
    • emotional support through being able to speak to someone as and when needed
    • getting access to aids and equipment
    • improved confidence and independence
    • being signposted to invaluable forms of support within the community and through local charities
  • People reported being better equipped to cope with a diagnosis of sight loss because of the range of support available
  • Ophthalmology Departments confirmed that the service was vital, providing a wide range of support to patients and improving the efficiency of the clinic
  • Despite feeling that it would have been useful not everyone gets to access the service. People talked about the emotional and life changing impact following sight loss and the difficulties they faced in finding and seeking the right support. Often people lacked information about the ECLO service and what was available to them in terms of support.

Healthwatch York have made a number of recommendations. These recommendations include:

  • Increasing awareness of and access to the ECLO service for everybody living with sight loss through an agreed pathway. Giving further consideration to rural areas with specific barriers to access.
  • Providing adequate and appropriate funding which reflects the importance of this service going forwards.
  • Encouraging all statutory and third sector services to work together to create joint information which clearly identifies the different services available, their benefits and when each is accessible to the person involved.

This report is just one of the areas of health and social care Healthwatch York are currently working on. They also want to hear from anyone affected by the recent changes to how repeat prescriptions are managed locally, anyone who was accessing support through the Primary Care Mental Health Team, and in hearing about the experiences of people in York in accessing health and social care across the city.

To get in touch with Healthwatch York, call 01904 621133, email healthwatch@yorkcvs.org.uk, tweet them @healthwatchyork or find them on facebook. For more information about the work of Healthwatch York visit: www.healthwatchyork.co.uk. The full ECLO report can be found on the “Our work” page, by clicking on publications, under the Healthwatch York reports tab.

To arrange an interview, please contact the Healthwatch York team on 01904 621133.

To read the full report https://www.healthwatchyork.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ECLO-Services-Report-Final-HWY-final-3.pdf

For more details about Healthwatch York’s work on prescription changes: https://www.healthwatchyork.co.uk/our-work/prescription-changes-2019/