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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is pleased to announce the launch of the Glaucoma Referral Pathways to District Health Boards (DHBs). The guidelines provide an evidence-based resource for optometrists, GPs and other health care professionals that outlines referral protocols for patients with, or suspected of having glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the biggest causes of vision loss and blindness in New Zealand, but can be treated and managed, with vision loss reduced and halted, with early diagnosis and effective treatment and management.
The need for these guidelines was highlighted by the recent eye care waiting list backlog affecting DHBs across the country.
RANZCO Fellow Dr Shenton Chew led the development of the New Zealand specific guidelines through consultation with glaucoma sub-specialists. New Zealand based RANZCO Fellows and several eye healthcare groups also reviewed the drafts ensuring the guidelines were practical and effective. The end result is an invaluable clinical guideline, that will ensure appropriate referral into DHB eye departments for this common and increasingly prevalent eye condition. The glaucoma guidelines are a part of a series of eye care referral guidelines that RANZCO has developed, for the referral of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and AMD, across Australia and New Zealand.
The RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways being launched today have been specifically developed for the New Zealand health system, to help to tackle problems such as the current backlog in follow-ups in DHBs. Following the successful launch of the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management in Australia last year, RANZCO is making the RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs available to all optometrists and GPs across New Zealand.
“RANZCO is committed to working collaboratively with optometrists, GPs and other health care professionals to ensure the most effective and efficient patient care and to improve health outcomes for people across Australia and New Zealand,” explained RANZCO President Associate Professor Mark Daniell. “The Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs have been developed with input from both ophthalmologists and optometrists and aims to provide a clear guide for referring patients to DHBs. The pathway is being made available to all optometrists and GPs and we are eager to keep receiving feedback from those who use the guidelines so that we can continue to build on and improve the referral pathways.”
“The guidelines are designed to help improve collaboration between ophthalmologists, eyecare professionals and DHBs to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. New Zealand has specific requirements that were considered in the creation of these guidelines, resulting in a clear pathway for GP and optometrists when they see patients who have potential glaucoma,” says Dr Brain Kent-Smith, New Zealand Branch Chair.
These referral guidelines do not favour, and are not dependent upon, any particular practice referral system or methodology. They simply provide a resource which lays out a suggested referral pathway to DHBs if certain signs and or symptoms are identified. The aim is to ensure patients receive the best care possible, in the most appropriate timeframe.