Previously, patients in the north of the county had to travel to district general hospitals outside the county for access to digital ophthalmic scanning. Now there are regular clinics taking place in Llanidloes and Welshpool hospitals which offer this facility.
Judith Jamieson is Senior Nurse Manager for Outpatients Development with Powys Teaching Health Board: “Traditionally in this part of the county our patients would require onward referral to Shrewsbury or Aberystwyth for this diagnostic scan by the Consultant in Ophthalmology. This results in several visits to different hospital sites, possible delay in diagnosis and commencement of treatment regimes.
“The introduction of this facility in county has enabled the provision of one-stop appointments for our patients in North Powys, bringing care closer to home,” she added.
Clair Rea is one of the new staff members – joining the health board as Ophthalmic Scientific Practitioner. She explained: “If the UK follows the experiences of other Western countries, we expect the demand for eye care services over the next 20 years to increase by 16% for conditions such as glaucoma, 47% for age related macular degeneration, 50% for conditions such as cataract, and up to 80% for diabetic retinopathy. So, it’s really positive that we can provide this new service – it’s better for patients, is more efficient for the health service and it will help reduce carbon emissions, too.”
The North Powys Wellbeing Programme’s ambition is to transform health and wellbeing services in this part of the county. While it is developing plans for a multi-agency health and wellbeing campus in Newtown, it is also financially supporting a range of initiatives across North Powys – such as this one – which can make real improvements quickly.
Carys Williams is Clinical Change Manager with the programme team. She added: “We are also looking to introduce similar scanning facilities at the campus in Newtown which, subject to funding being available, should be open in late 2026. We are already seeing the fruits of this current investment, though. Already dozens of patients have had their OCT scans in Llanidloes and Welshpool. This is a major part of our vision - to deliver as many services as possible in our hospitals here in north Powys.”
More information about the programme can be found at www.powyswellbeing.wales.
In addition, an Eye Care Liaison Office can also be contacted for patients in North Powys. Ellen Ryan can support with a range of eye care questions people may have, including self-care and medication. She can also offer advice on equipment and technology which can help people at home or work and can offer details of support groups and sessions available to people with eye care issues. Ellen can be contacted on 07701 295138.