UK – Change in NHS regulations about glasses for children with Down Syndrome

To read on The Northern Echo website:

Durham optometrist wins two-year campaign to improve eye care for children with Down’s Syndrome

William Dean, 10, from Shincliffe, and Durham optomotrist Simon Berry

William Dean, 10, from Shincliffe, and Durham optomotrist Simon Berry

A NORTH-EAST optometrist has won his campaign to improve eye care for children with Down’s Syndrome.

Simon Berry, who has a practice in Gilesgate, Durham, has led a two-year campaign to change the rules on funding to help families buy specially made glasses for children with the condition.

Children with Down’s Syndrome often cannot wear ordinary glasses and need more expensive specially fitting frames but until recently could only access vouchers providing extra financial support through hospital eye services, which could be distressing for children and gave them limited choice.

Now the voucher can also be accessed through their local opticians.

Mr Berry started an online petition and took the issue to Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, who raised the anomaly with the Secretary of State for Health and the Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England.

Mr Berry, a children’s eyecare specialist, said: “This is fantastic news and something we have campaigned about for a long time. We first raised the issue with NHS England over two years ago.

“Under the old rules, patients with exactly the same clinical need received a different level of service depending on how they accessed the NHS service. It also varied throughout the UK depending where the patient lived, how individual authorities interpreted the regulations, and how referrals to local hospital departments are organised.

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