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10 March 2022

Eye care for children aged 8 and over to optometric practices to be advanced this year, Minister announces

Speaking in the Dail, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, promised that development of Primary Care Eye Teams in Community Health Organisations (CHOs) 6, 7 and 9 would happen in 2022 - with a view to extending these teams to other CHOs.

The HSE will also this year advance the transfer of care for children aged over eight years to local optometrists, the Minister said in response to questioning by Deputy Colm Burke.

The Minister acknowledged the skillset that optometrists have, by virtue of their education and training, and how recommendations from the 2017 Primary Care Eye Services Review Group Report were overdue.

"I am fully committed to the development of community services which can facilitate expanded and more integrated provision of eye care in local communities," he said.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach Mr Martin told Deputy Colm Burke on February 1, that he would support establishment of a Primary and Community Care High Level Working Group (within the Department of Health), as proposed by the Irish College of General Practitioners. This would include the ICGP, the Irish Medical Organisation, the Irish Medical Council and all relevant stakeholders. This group would develop the expansion of primary healthcare and community care. The Taoiseach said he would discuss this group with Health Minister Donnelly.

This will be a major positive step forward in eye health for children. The policy team at the Association of Eye Care Providers of Ireland, is engaging with government to ensure all children get the high quality eye care they need and do not suffer detriment on long waiting lists for hospital treatment.


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