The Ministry of Health says work is ongoing to improve the delivery of ophthalmology services available across New Zealand.
"Recent discussions between the Ministry of Health and DHBs identified variability in terms of processes, systems and planning to support appropriate access to services. It also illustrated varying models of the care and workforce used to support eye health for New Zealanders," says Jill Lane, Director Service Commissioning.
"Given this variability, it's important for the Ministry to work closely during 2017 with any DHBs which may have a backlog of ophthalmology patients and discuss what plans they're implementing to address these.
"The Ministry wrote to DHBs this week reinforcing support for improving capacity and demand management and that collaboration will be ongoing.
"In the short term, the Ministry's support will include making available a contribution of up to $2 million nationally during 2016/17 to assist DHBs to develop, implement or improve care models to best support their district’s eye health."
The Ministry of Health will also work to support improvements at the national level. This will include work on clinical prioritisation tools and processes, guidance to inform a nationally consistent approach to follow up management, evaluations of models of care and workforce modelling.
DHB service improvement could include local and regional activities around improved capacity and demand planning, improved referral management, consistent prioritisation for access, or using alternative workforce such as optometrists or nurse specialists.
Plans for this funding will be submitted by DHBs to the Ministry during February 2017.