Advanced training to stop eye problems in their tracks
Three new advanced nurse practitioners are joining the ophthalmology team at Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre to help meet growing demand for sight-saving treatment.
The nurses have been trained up following a growing increase in the number of patients needing monthly injections to ward off age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Nurse practitioners Helen Hipkiss and Susan Derrett have been providing the service at Kidderminster for the past three years and they have taken the lead on training the new team members.
Helen said: “AMD is really common among people over 55 – the NHS has estimated that about one person in ten aged over 65 has it to some extent.
“This injection can halt the disease for a very long time, but it must be given monthly. Training nurses to provide the treatment frees up doctors for other things and patients often say they prefer receiving their monthly care from us. We have a different approach that many people say they like.”
Two of the new nurse practitioners completed their training ahead of schedule in early December and will join the team immediately; the third will join early in the New Year. This means that the hospital can expand its service from ten clinics per week to 12.
The Trust’s ophthalmology service has already been highly commended in the Health Services Journal (HSJ) ‘Value in Healthcare Awards’ for its work to improve staff knowledge and skills - and particularly for training nurse practitioners to take on some of the tasks traditionally handled by doctors.