Duke of Devonshire Visits Chesterfield Eye Centre

Published by Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 16 March 2015

PICTURE CAPTION: The Duke of Devonshire meets Claire Winfield (left), Sight Support Derbyshire's Chief Executive and Angela Jones (right), Eye Clinic Liaison Officer for the charity.

Picture: Trevor Smith

The Chesterfield Royal Hospital received a very special visitor to recognise a partnership it shares to offer practical, emotional and social support to people who are losing their sight.

Sight Support Derbyshire is a registered charity that has been operating for more than 100 years and recently signed a new contract to offer the Royal’s Eye Centre patients a drop in facility to get further advice and support about their condition. On Monday 16th March The Duke of Devonshire, a patron of the service, was given a tour of the centre to find out more about the service and how it sits within the Trust’s Ophthalmology department.

Angela Jones is one the Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs), she said: “We see a lot of the patients who come from the Eye Centre, referred by the consultant or nurse but we will also go to inpatient wards within the wider Trust. A lot of the work we do outside of the Eye Centre will be related to occupational therapy and goes a long way towards helping to prevent falls.

“We can help patients to understand what their condition means in a practical way, what benefits and concessions they may be able to receive as a result of sight impairment and arrange for a Community Low Vision Assessment in their own home if they wish. There are also links to the Home Support Service where their homes can be assessed in terms of carrying out daily living tasks such as making a cup of tea.

“We’re based in the Royal’s Eye Centre and, as a drop in session a patient can visit us directly from their appointment or, if it’s not convenient, they can book a slot at a specific time when they know they will be able to see us.”

In 2014 Sight Support Derbyshire’s ECLOs were in contact with 2,639 people seeking information and dealt with 401 referrals. People referred to the charity were put in touch with services such as Low Vision Assessment, home support, rehabilitation, and social groups as well as other agencies such as welfare support and social services.

Three volunteers work alongside the ECLOs, taking information about the charity’s services to wards and clinics throughout the hospital. The eye clinic team also works with other departments such as Falls Prevention teams, consultants and GPs to promote its services, and supports SSD volunteers working in eye clinics in Buxton and Whitworth Hospitals.

Claire Winfield, the Sight Support Derbyshire’s Chief Executive, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet our Patron, the Duke, and tell him about our work at the Eye Clinic. The evidence is that our support can make a huge difference and we’re grateful to the hospital’s charitable trust for recognising this and funding our Eye Clinic Liaison Officers at a time where there is more call for them nationally.

“It’s an exciting time for us at the hospital, as we are seeing more patients than ever before and doing more to highlight how we can support people with sight loss. And our services at the hospital are working in tandem with more support across North East Derbyshire thanks to our successful bid to the Big Lottery."


Notes to editors

As the only locally-based sight loss charity in Derbyshire, Sight Support Derbyshire has more than 100 years’ experience in helping visually impaired people. The ninth Duke of Devonshire was the President when the charity was formed in 1914, and the link has continued through the years with the current Duke the patron today.

Sight Support Derbyshire has had a presence at the eye clinic in Chesterfield since 1994. Over the years the service has grown from one run on the best endeavours by a group of volunteers to a service managed by a qualified Eye Clinic Liaison Officer and an assistant ECLO, who are supported by three trained volunteers.

For more information about Chesterfield Royal Hospital, click here.


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