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Bradford students need your help
Professor Brendan Barrett, who is Professor of Visual Development at Bradford University, is appealing to local practices for functioning, but unused retinoscopes or ophthalmoscopes. In these unprecedented times, there are many challenges facing optometry students, one of which is that they are spending much more time off-campus. His appeal for equipment is to allow students the opportunitity to practise basic optometric techniques at home. That way, they can gain valuable practise time on techniques they have been introduced to in our labs, and in case of a stricter lockdown, they will be still able to make progress, guided by us online. We have model eyes and mini-trial case sets which we can loan to our students to assist them in learning ret. However, we are short of both rets and ophthalmoscopes. If you have equipment of this nature that you could spare, please contact: Brendan Barrett, at b.t.barrett@bradford.ac.uk 30th Oct 2020
COVID Vaccine Update
You will have seen in the national news that a promising COVID vaccine is in its final stages of testing and is likely to become available fairly soon. In its early roll-out, this won't be available to the population generally, but will be given to particular groups such as NHS staff and those who are particularly vunerable. Optometry practice staff have been identified as one of these priority groups and Wakefield LOC have been approached by Wakefield CCG regarding the likely number of doses that will be required. All practices should therefore be receiving an email from the LOC asking for numbers of those who would require the vaccine and we ask that you reply as soon as possible.

Numbers for a practice should include Optometrists, dispensing staff, administrative staff, locums and support staff such as cleaners. It should also include any onsite glazing technicians. Practices should try not to double count staff who may work at other practices in the Wakefield area or perhaps as part of their group.  13th Nov 2020

Mid Yorkshire finally opens up for routine referrals

Since the end of March 2020, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals have been unable to provide routine services as they usually do. With the advent of COVID19 many of the ophthalmology departments resources were diverted to COVID care with even ophthalmology doctors and consultants being retrained. With such delays the number of routine patients that have not been seen has built up hence there is now a large backlog. Routine appointments for various departments have been coming back on stream over the last few weeks and Ophthalmology has become one of them since the 1st September.
It's going to take a long time to clear what will be an enormous backlog and additional consultant triage of patients will take place. Additionally there is a role for Optometry practices to play in ensuring that monitoring in practice where appropriate takes place and maximum use of community ophthalmology services now that this has been expanded.
Acute Referrals Increase

MYHT are currently experiencing a dramatic increase in 'inappropriate' acute ophthalmology referrals to Pinderfields Hospital. These are arriving from Wakefield optometry practices and are causing the department problems. It's unclear why this is happening but may be a response to the long delays in getting patients seen via the routine ophthalmology route and practices referring to the acute clinic out of concern for their patient.
To ensure that urgent cases are not delayed, only Acute or Emergency cases that need to be seen within one week should be sent to the acute clinic. This should be following a thorough examination and where the patient meets the Acute criteria set out in the Commissioner’s Referral Guidelines. (See downloads section for the latest version). Routine Cataract, YAG or any other appointment should not be referred to the Acute Clinic to be seen quicker. 25th Sept 2020
To work or not to work?
It can happen to any of us. Out of the blue, we feel a bit warmer than usual and you get an annoying little cough that come to think of it has been there a couple of days. You make yourself a curry for dinner and when it just doesn't taste like normal, the penny drops. The need for a COVID test can of course be not because we feel unwell but because a family member or a work colleague has been forced to have a test or has tested positive.
Once the decision has been made to get a test, the questions begin. Do I have to isolate until my test results come back? My colleague has tested positive but I feel fine so can't I just go to work and see if I get symptoms? Making the right decision may have a big impact on your own health and those around you.

Public Health England has lots of useful guidance including two excellent flow charts to help you to do the right thing. So why not download them now and have them to hand just in case you're the one that needs them?

     Symptomatic Return To Work Guide
     Asymptomatic Return To Work Guide