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HomeminewsSpecsavers UK Ophthalmology Partnership Won’t Be Duplicated Locally

Specsavers UK Ophthalmology Partnership Won’t Be Duplicated Locally

Specsavers’ strategy to partner with United Kingdom ophthalmology practice Newmedica, will not be duplicated in Australia, according to Peter Larsen, Specsavers Australia’s Optometry Director.

Specsavers announced a major investment to partner with Newmedica in late November 2016. Founded in 2007, Newmedica is one of the largest independent ophthalmology providers to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), operating from 25 community and GP sites, NHS and private hospitals and mobile clinics in England. Services delivered cover the full range of ophthalmology, including outpatients and surgery, adult, paediatric and neonatal ophthalmology.

Doug Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Specsavers, said, “Newmedica and Specsavers share a passion for transforming eye health and for focusing on what is best for patients and we are very much looking forward to working together.

“The investment has only just been made and it is too early to say exactly how the partnership will develop in the future. However, with hospital eye departments under pressure due to an ageing population and an increase in treatable eye conditions, we will be exploring with Newmedica ways in which we can provide NHS ophthalmology services in the community. We envisage that the services would be led by ophthalmologists, and supported by optometrists in our stores.”

The investment has only just been made and it is too early to say exactly how the partnership will develop in the future

Mr. Larsen, said although the investment by Specsavers UK into Newmedica was “an exciting step forward” for both UK ophthalmology and optometry, it had taken place within a medical environment that is very different to that of Australia. “What the Specsavers / Newmedica tie-up in the UK does is allow ophthalmologists and optometrists to jointly contract for NHS funding in their local NHS Regions, to provide more integrated eye care services.”

Highlighting the difference between the UK and Australia, Mr. Larsen noted that “the overwhelming majority of UK ophthalmologists work within the taxpayer-funded NHS system, whereas of course in Australia the overwhelming majority work in private practice.

“The Newmedica / Specsavers partnership is a model that takes account of the unique NHS funding model for primary and secondary eye care services in the UK – it is not something we would look at in Australia. In Australia, our approach is to work in collaboration with ophthalmology; very recently we announced we would work closely with our friends at RANZCO to contribute to and implement a series of RANZCO-backed guidelines on glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, AMD and more. The goal is to see ophthalmology and optometry working closely together across the board, co-managing and collaborating for the public health benefit. And of course, we are all very clearly also working towards a sustainable federal funding model in Medicare.”