We’re coping with Coronavirus

Seeing the way forward: Consultants at specialist eye hospital group Optegra tell Independent Practitioner Today how Covid-19 has impacted on their work and changed the way they do things.

Lockdown provided an opportunity for specialists at Optegra Eye Health Care to review and reflect, streamline processes and launch a new approach to consultations, as well as plan how to keep patients and staff safe once lockdown was lifted.

Like others, the private hospital group supported the already-stretched NHS by assisting with emergency care throughout lockdown and with cataract referrals once the doors re-opened.

Mr Amir Hamid, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and medical director for vision correction

‘We have spent a great deal of time and effort during lockdown to review how we work and how we can further increase safety for patients and staff in the face of this new virus.

While it has been challenging not being able to actually operate – after all, we surgeons love nothing more than being in theatre – it has provided an opportunity to pause and reflect.

As a result, we have thoroughly analysed and streamlined the patient pathway for our vision correction patients.

An essential element of that – and a direct response to Covid-19 – has been the launch of virtual consultations. This has allowed us to continue to work with existing and new patients even during lockdown, to respond to questions and carry out initial consultations over the phone or internet.

Our intention was very much to reduce the amount of time any individual patient would attend hospital once the doors are open.

So by running all the ‘conversation’ element of the consultation virtually, considering their symptoms, their hopes for their vision, their medical history and so on, we can then have a brief physical consultation for their actual medical eye checks once doors open.