The number of Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) has increased significantly in recent years, and the fact that people affected by sight loss in eye departments are receiving the practical and emotional support that they want, and need, has been a real positive step in eye care.
ECLOs work directly with people with sight loss to provide information, advice, emotional and practical support, and onward referral to other services. Across the UK, there are currently approximately 130 FTE ECLO posts. RNIB deliver half of these, and around 25 are delivered by qualified ECLOs provided by Local Sight Loss Charities. Others are provided by a mix of the NHS, Local Authorities and partnerships.
It is important that all ECLOs, regardless of location or employer, deliver the same patient centred and holistic approach to support, so that anyone accessing an ECLO, wherever they may be, receives the same impartial, quality service.
The Framework defines the activities and associated standards for Eye Clinic Liaison Officers and describes what a quality ECLO service looks like. This includes timely, one-to-one practical and emotional support and the provision of quality information. All ECLOs should carry out an initial assessment of need, to help people prioritise their own needs and aspirations, which then leads to signposting or making quality referrals to a wide range of services. They also assist with certification & registration processes.
The ECLO Quality Framework, produced by RNIB in partnership with other ECLO providers, has been updated and the revised version was launched at the England Vision Strategy Conference in London in the summer.
The first Quality Framework was written and published in 2014, and 30 Local Sight Loss Charities were invited to join the consultation and to comment on the draft framework.
Essentially the ‘core’ role of the ECLO is the same as in the original 2014 Framework, but updates have been made in the light of changes to legislation and NHS Practice (i.e. GDPR and Safeguarding). The elements which refer to Certification and Registration have also been updated following the publication of updated forms, guidance and processes in the 4 nations of the UK.
The framework is available as a printed booklet, Accessible PDF and Accessible Word document.
The Framework has been endorsed by the UK Ophthalmology Alliance, having been reviewed by all its Members, and is referred to in the UKOA Patient Standards for Ophthalmology Services.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has released the following statement about it;
“The Royal College of Ophthalmologists considers Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) to be a core patient service within hospital eye units and when in place, they have a dramatic impact on patients’ quality of life and independence.
The RNIB ECLO Quality Framework provides guidance on how to implement the service within a clear governance structure, defining the activities of an ECLO. At a time when the NHS is looking for better models of care and intervention to overcome increasing patient demand, ECLOs can increase capacity in the hospital eye service, support access to social services and deliver the human touch needed for vulnerable patients.
The college encourages commissioners, trusts and local authorities to recognise these benefits and calls for investment in this service using the principles outlined in the ECLO Quality Framework and the Practice guidelines.”
The Framework is available here in print and accessible PDF and Word versions.
Read RNIB’s ECLO Patient Experience Questionnaire UK report 2018/19 here.
The UKOA Patient Standard for Ophthalmology Services can be found here