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RD&E eye unit patients benefit from a UK first


The Royal Devon & Exeter is leading the country with its innovative care of eye patients


The West of England Eye Unit at the RD&E Wonford hospital is the first in the UK to develop the clinical role of a nurse practitioner to carry out procedures to treat macular degeneration.


Before this new approach, consultant eye surgeons carried out the procedure for wet macular degeneration, an injection into the eye of a drug called Lucentis under local anaesthetic to prevent loss of vision and in a significant proportion of patients to improve vision.


At the RD&E, Consultant Eye Surgeon and Retinal Specialist Mr Peter Simcock has trained senior nurse practitioner Brian Kingett to perform this procedure. The benefits of this approach include continuity of care for the patient with their nurse and freeing up theatres and medical staff for more complex operations because this treatment is administered in a dedicated clinical room.


Mr Peter Simcock said: “In 2008 macular patients were treated with injections in the main eye theatre by eye surgeons.  The injections are a relatively straightforward procedure which I thought could be done in a different setting so that the theatres could be used for the more complex operations and the medical staff could focus on dealing with the more challenging cases. The way forward was for me to train senior nurse practitioner Brian Kingett in this technique. To date he has give over 3,300 injections and I am sure must be the most experienced person of his profession in the world with this technique.  The patients love seeing the same person each time and he has been commended by the Macular Disease Society for his work for the local population.  He has also been highly praised by the nursing profession for this innovative work and reached the final 10 from an entry of 300 for a Royal College of Nursing Innovation award earlier this year.” 


Senior nurse practitioner Brian Kingett said: “It has been a rewarding and challenging development of the nurse practitioner role, which has real potential to help other hospital trusts respond to the increased demands for this treatment and eye unit services.”


Mr Simcock was recently invited to give a presentation at the prestigious World Congress of Eye Hospitals taking place at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.  Mr Simcock said: “the reaction was very positive with delegates from all over the world attending including doctors, nurses and hospital managers.  Exeter has been the first unit in the UK to develop this method of treating patients and I am very grateful to the managers and clinical governance team at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for allowing this to occur.  The majority of countries in attendance agreed that this is an excellent method for treating patients. ”

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