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New providers for eye services announced in West Lancashire

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The NHS in West Lancashire has announced two new providers which will soon be providing local community ophthalmology (eye services) and community macular services.

Following a stringent procurement process carried out by NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the local healthcare commissioner has evaluated, and moderated bids received and have selected two successful providers. Isight will provide tier 2 ophthalmology services and SpaMedica will provide community macular services for the communities of West Lancashire.

The ‘tier 2’ means this is a community service for minor treatments only such as lids/lashes tears, red eye, corneal conditions, foreign bodies, corneal ulcers, contact lens-induced corneal infections and flashes/floaters. Patients can still access support in their community through opticians and receive specialist treatment at hospital providers as required.

The procurement process has run since Spring 2017 and included opportunities for local people to have their say so the views of patients can be considered. All NHS contracts are awarded for a specified period of time, ensuring that services are continually reviewed to ensure they offer patients the best possible care. Ahead of a contract’s expiry date, commissioners are obliged to review and re-tender those services, so they can be assured that healthcare services are the best they can be for the populations they serve.

In a joint statement, Drs Vik Mittal and Rakesh Jaidka, local GPs and board members at NHS West Lancashire CCG, who were involved in this procurement said:

“This process is all about improving what’s on offer locally for patients of West Lancashire. We know from conversations with clinicians and the community that patients are often having to travel out of area for treatments which places additional burden and time on those patients and their families.

“We are confident these commissioned services will now improve patient experience by having services available across West Lancashire where possible, and reduce waiting times.

“These services will also reduce unnecessary burden placed on GPs, as opticians, walk in centres and A&E departments will be able to directly refer into the service without having the need to go through their GPs.

“We will now begin a mobilisation phase in which the selected providers will work with us as commissioners to develop the finer details of those services.

“The ‘go live’ dates for these services to start will be 1 April 2018.

“Local residents are assured that all services commissioned within this process will continue to be delivered as part of the NHS and will remain free at the point of contact.”

A full briefing of what has taken place can be found on the CCG’s website www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk. If members of the public have a question relating to this, please contact the CCG via wlccg.myview@nhs.net.

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