DH-funded pilots launched to boost support for visually impaired

Department of Health-funded pilots have been launched to map and improve services for visually impaired people, as part of the UK Vision Strategy.

The Engagement, Partnership, Information and Communication (Epic) pilots have been set up to assess and co-ordinate services in 23 areas over the next three years and produce local vision strategies.

They will be led by primary care trusts in partnership with councils and voluntary agencies, and are designed to support the goals of the UK strategy: improving eye health, delivering better support and enhancing the inclusion and independence of visually impaired people.

The UK Vision Strategy’s senior programme manager, Pritti Mehta, said that, by formally bringing agencies together, the Epic pilots were intended to avoid some of the problems encountered in the delivery of the National Dementia Strategy.

“One of the things that seems to be suffering around that is the local implementation and partly it’s because these structures have not been thought about,” Mehti said.

A report by the National Audit Office this month said there had been slow progress in implementing the dementia strategy because of a lack of local leadership and national direction from the DH.

The initial Epic pilots will run in Worcestershire, North Essex and North of Tyne, with the remaining 20 to follow.

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