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Impact of eye clinic liaison officers: a qualitative study in UK ophthalmology clinics
  1. Mark Llewellyn1,
  2. Jennifer Hilgart1,
  3. Puja Joshi2,
  4. Aelwyn Williams3
  1. 1 Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK
  2. 2 Royal National Institute of Blind People, London, UK
  3. 3 Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mark Llewellyn; Mark.Llewellyn{at}southwales.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives To explore the impact of eye clinic liaison officers (ECLOs, also known as sight loss advisors) on the processes, functions and quality of ophthalmology clinics through the experiences of ophthalmology staff in the UK.

Design Qualitative study.

Setting UK hospital ophthalmology clinics.

Participants Health and social care professionals in the UK.

Results ECLOs who had a presence in hospital ophthalmology clinics were seen as valuable in streamlining processes within the clinic, particularly in relation to the certification of visual impairment process, and providing continuity of care for patients when they were discharged from medical treatment. ECLOs also saved staff time in the clinic, as they were often responsible for providing emotional and practical support for patients living with sight loss.

Conclusions ECLOs are well placed in ophthalmology clinics. They can relieve pressure on clinical staff by taking on information giving and referring duties, allowing other staff to focus on their clinical responsibilities. The impact of ECLOs may depend on efficient communication with the clinical team, being trusted by other staff and having a good knowledge of local and national sight loss support services outside of the hospital setting. Further research could enhance our understanding of how much time and associated costs ECLOs substitute in the ophthalmology clinic.

  • ophthalmology
  • qualitative research
  • quality in health care

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors JH, ML, AW and PJ analysed the data. JH wrote the initial draft and all authors revised the initial draft. ML and JH wrote the final draft. ML made the revisions following feedback from the reviewers.

  • Funding The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) funded this research. The funders contributed to the design of the research. The RNIB is one (among a number of other) funders of sight loss advisor and ECLO posts across the UK.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education Ethics Committee of the University of South Wales prior to the research being conducted.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement None of the unpublished data from the study is available.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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