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More RD&E patients will benefit from new mobile eye clinic


RD&E specialist eye nurses Jane Kingett, left and Jess Sanders A new mobile eye clinic will be on the road from Monday 18 October visiting Royal Devon & Exeter hospital patients in their home towns across Devon.


The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has invested £300,000 in this initiative which will increase the number of hospital eye unit patients being looked after each year from 3,500 to about 5,000.


This is a first for the RD&E West of England Eye Unit which has served the community for over 200 years. It is also a first for three members of the specialist nursing team –Jane Kingett, Jess Sanders (pictured right), and Rachel Garratt– who all volunteered to train for their HGV licence so they can drive the 12-tonne mobile clinic.


Glaucoma nurse specialist Jane Kingett said: “The business case for the mobile eye clinic explored a number of options. We ruled out holding the clinics in community hospitals because expensive specialist equipment would not have been used for the rest of the month . Employing a driver meant they wouldn’t have had any duties when we were parked up and holding the clinic. I saw no reason why we couldn’t drive the truck ourselves and the Trust paid for our HGV training to achieve this solution. We know that our patients will be very appreciative of us taking the service to them and it will have real benefits back at the main eye unit freeing up appointments for other patients.”


The towns to be visited by the RD&E mobile eye clinic are Okehampton, Crediton, Honiton, Cullompton, Dawlish, Exmouth and Exeter.


Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged. It affects two to four per cent of people over 40 years old. Glaucoma patients need lifelong regular monitoring so that treatment can be changed accordingly. Failure to treat glaucoma can cost eye sight. The mobile eye clinic will provide the monitoring and advice service for these patients.

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