Aims: To derive an evidence base for the efficacy of two novel optometric primary eye care services in Wales, the Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme (PEARS) and the Welsh Eye Health Examination (WEHE).
Methods: A Donabedian model using structure, process and outcome was applied to evaluate prospectively 6432 individuals attending 274 optometrists within an eight-month period. Telephone interviews and review of optometric and hospital notes were used to determine management appropriateness for patients either managed in optometric practice or referred to the Hospital Eye Service (HES). A Geographic Information Systems analysis determined distances travelled to the optometrist. A cost analysis was used to determine net cost of the schemes.
Results: 4243 (66%) of the 6432 individuals were managed in optometric practice; inappropriate management was apparent in 1% of individuals. 392 hospital notes were reviewed; 75% exhibited appropriate optometric referrals to the HES. 87% of individuals travelled less than 5 miles to attend an optometrist. The net cost of a PEARS/WEHE consultation was a minimum of £12.
Conclusions: Optometric management within the schemes is acceptable. Good equity of access was achieved at a relatively low net cost per consultation. Agreement on protocols for referral to the HES would enhance the schemes.