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Have you had a poor experience visiting your eye hospital?

Blind and partially sighted people often have to visit their eye hospital for examinations and treatment, however, on occasion these visits are not as accessible or inclusive as they could be. London Vision’s Engagement Manager Bhavini Makwana regularly visits Moorfields Eye Hospital for check-ups, and unfortunately suffered several shocking and poor experiences as a patient.

Bhavini wrote about these experiences in a blog, which led to an invite to speak to the board of Moorfields Eye Hospital. She used this opportunity to advocate for blind and partially sighted people, sharing her own experience, and those of other patients who are outpatients at the hospital. This meeting led to the formation of a stakeholder, staff and patient representative group, which has been meeting to improve the patient experience at Moorfields, and contribute to appropriate training.

Moorfields Eye Hospital stakeholder group

One of key functions of the group has been to shift the view of seeing patients just as an eye, but instead, seeing them as a whole patient. Switching the focus helps to ensure that diagnoses, news and other information is delivered with empathy, dignity and compassion. Practices such as calling out patients’ names and then walking off, not offering sighted guiding or delivering it poorly; or even talking to the patients partner, family or friend instead of the patient themselves are just some of the things the group has been addressing.

Moorfields Eye Hospital is the leading eye hospital of excellence in the country, and its status as a world leader in treatment was underlined by the speed at which an action plan to tackle service delivery was put together. This strategy has long term goals for improvement, and which aims to address the current disparity in patient service provision. The strategy aims to ensure that the poor experiences faced by new and existing patients do not reoccur.

Training programme

As a result, a training programme has been put together, using patients’ voices and input. It covers topics such as approaching and interacting with someone with a vision impairment, both Guide Dog and white cane etiquette, the importance and impact of not directly speaking to the patient and much more. The group is also working on bridging the gap between the consultants and the Eye Clinic Liaison Officers and other pathways for emotional and practical support.

In addition, the stakeholder group is working to tackle the problem of patients receiving their communications in inaccessible formats. The Accessible Standard was established in 2016, but all too frequently Moorfields Eye Hospital patients receive information in formats that they are unable to read. In line with this, the group is also helping Moorfields develop a stronger service in leading and guiding both using technology and with physical guidance.

Going forwards

London Vision is committed to helping ensure Moorfields Eye Hospital patient care is delivered to a high standard. London Vision’s Bhavini Makwana continues to work closely with the stakeholder group and Moorfields to provide a better service for patients and their families by making sight loss awareness and its impact the highest priority. The Hospital is undergoing a strategy and culture shift which will be long lasting, and will be carried through to the new Moorfields site as part of the ORIEL project.

London Vision is fully aware of the negative impact a poor diagnosis, lack of sign posting or relevant information, or even not being treated with compassion or empathy can have on a patient’s well-being, therefore, highlighting the importance of the continuing partnership with Moorfields.

Whether you have had a good or poor experience, share them with us, so that we can feed them directly to the relevant teams within Moorfields Eye Hospital. London Vision is here to support Moorfields Eye Hospital in delivering excellent care, but this care can only improve by hearing your experiences. Read more about London Vision’s work with Moorfields on the Campaigns page.

Share your experiences by emailing bhavini.makwana@londonvision.org or by calling 07976448824

Equally, if it is another eye clinic or hospital you visit and would like to share your feedback, then please also get in touch.

If you are concerned about attending a face to face appointment, please contact your clinic to get up to date guidance and support.

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