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21 July 2023

FODO Ireland member update – 21 July

This week:

Senator Conway calls for eye care review

Senator Martin Conway has highlighted that 80% of sight loss sufferers need not lose their sight. He added that engagement and early intervention are key but not everybody has access and waiting times are long.

The Senator has called for a debate in the Seanad Éireann on eye care, waiting lists and investment in eye care.

Read more

Children's eye care - pressure mounts

Pressure is mounting on the Department of Health and the HSE to improve eye care services for children and implement the changes quickly.

The Minister has stated that children aged eight and over will be discharged to local optical practices. Meanwhile, the HSE has said that this should be implemented nationally to minimise local variation in services and access.

Read FODO's analysis and response

Waiting times for eye care are getting worse

The latest figures from the HSE show 2,500 more people are waiting for hospital eye care than last year, an increase of about 12%.

Almost 75% of people waiting for eye care are under 18 and more than 11,000 on the list have been waiting for over a year.

Read the detail and listen to FODO Ireland's chair talking on local radio.

The forgotten primary eye care workforce

Over the last few months, the Department of Health has made several announcements about healthcare workers. The Minister for Health has announced new initiatives to increase training places in Ireland and  maximise intake from abroad.

The announcements relate to GPs, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and social workers. Primary eye care is noticeably missing.

Read about the announcements and FODO's response

Latest CORU registration statistics

Optometrists comprise 963 of the 25,794 professionals registered with CORU's Registration Boards as of July 2023, a small degrease (0.6%) in the last quarter. 

Dispensing opticians comprise 206 CORU registrants as of July 2023, a decrease of 2.4% in the last quarter.

Over the same period, the total number of registrants with CORU has increased by 1.6%.

Read the breakdown

GPs agree increase in fees as part of extending GP cards

The Irish Medical Organisation and the Department of Health have agreed increased fees, which will allow GPs to recruit more staff. The additional staff will help manage the increased demand for services from the additional 500,000 getting access to a GP visit card.

It is the largest expansion in access to free GP care in Ireland's history and will be phased in from August 2023.

Read further detail

Healthcare information study

Researchers at the University of Galway are calling for participants for a new study about health information-seeking. Johanna Pope, doctoral student in Galway, is keen to speak to healthcare professionals to better understand how they find reliable health information to share, how they recognise and deal with misinformation, and what kinds of support they consider most effective for helping people to use health information.

To take part, please contact Johanna directly.

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