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Spotlight on RNIB’s Eye Care Liaison Service (ECLO)

RNIB launched their community pathway into their ECLO Service for patients affected by sight loss and their family and friends in January 2022.

This development arose because many people with eye conditions traditionally managed in a hospital setting, moved to being managed in the community by Optometrists. ECLOs have an important role in increasing eye care pathway efficiency in the short term, encouraging throughput to and from secondary, primary and community care services.

RNIB has a vital role to ensure that Optometrists as key professionals supporting patients, have an eyecare pathway established to enable speedy and secure referral routes and to ensure their patients can access this vital service.

“ECLOs work alongside health professionals to offer support and advice to people affected by sight loss in a range of areas. These include independent living, returning to work, benefit entitlements, emotional support, and coping at home. ECLOs can also assist with certification and registration to ensure that newly diagnosed people receive timely support from social care” – UKOA (UK ophthalmology Alliance)

All RNIB Eye Care Liaison Officers are qualified and experienced, offering support delivered to a recognised UK and an agreed quality framework.

RNIB already have a wide range of optometry practices across Scotland signed up to the pathway, with a secure link and actively making patient referrals; and are keen to increase awareness of the service and it’s benefits and encourage more clinicians to sign up to access the portal and utilise this crucial service for patients.

On receipt of a referral into the portal, one of the ECLOs contact the patient within five working days and carry out a screening of needs to ascertain the support required.

Craig Colahan, Optometrist, Greater Glasgow Health Board is a regular referrer, and he states “The RNIB ECLO Service undertakes a person-centred assessment with patients who have Visual Impairment and then discuss a range of support options, including appropriate referrals to local and national services.

The ECLO Service gives me confidence that patients I refer will have their best interests met. The added value of the ECLO Service is that while the patient is waiting for their referral to Secondary Eye Care for the likes of Low Visual Aid help or Sight Impairment Registration, the ECLO Service augments the patient referral process with an early intervention, aiming to contact the patient within five working days.

The RNIB Portal via an internet web-browser is accessible and easy to use. There are nine fields to complete, six of which are basic information such as Patient Name, Patient Phone Number etc…, thus it is not cumbersome to complete.

I have referred nine patients to RNIB ECLO Service in past 6 months, which demonstrates the demand for such a service and my willingness to participate with RNIB to help those with visual impairment.”

Listen to a recent radio interview with ECLO Fiona Ettle, via the following link which gives further insight into our service, including the role of the ECLO and the benefits for patients.

For further information or if you wish to join the project and receive a direct secure link to refer patients into our service, please contact Maeve Lawler  or Rosemary Cameron

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