01/02/2015 Medicine Political Science
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.07.010 SemanticScholar ID: 32813193 MAG: 2077912311

Addressing inequalities in eye health with subsidies and increased fees for General Ophthalmic Services in socio-economically deprived communities: a sensitivity analysis.

Publication Summary

Abstract Objectives Poor knowledge of eye health, concerns about the cost of spectacles, mistrust of optometrists and limited geographical access in socio-economically deprived areas are barriers to accessing regular eye examinations and result in low uptake and subsequent late presentation to ophthalmology clinics. Personal Medical Services (PMS) were introduced in the late 1990s to provide locally negotiated solutions to problems associated with inequalities in access to primary care. An equivalent approach to delivery of optometric services could address inequalities in the uptake of eye examinations. Study design One-way and multiway sensitivity analyses. Methods Variations in assumptions were included in the models for equipment and accommodation costs, uptake and length of appointments. The sensitivity analyses thresholds were cost-per-person tested below the GOS1 fee paid by the NHS and achieving break-even between income and expenditure, assuming no cross-subsidy from profits from sales of optical appliances. Results Cost per test ranged from £24.01 to £64.80 and subsidy required varied from £14,490 to £108,046. Unused capacity utilised for local enhanced service schemes such as glaucoma referral refinement reduced the subsidy needed. Conclusions In order to support the financial viability of primary eye care in socio-economically deprived communities, income is required from additional subsidies or from sources other than eye examinations, such as ophthalmic or other optometric community services. This would require a significant shift of activity from secondary to primary care locations. The subsidy required could also be justified by the utility gain from earlier detection of preventable sight loss.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Chris Davey

Dr. Chris Davey

University of Bradford - Assistant Professor, School of Optometry and Vision Science

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