Orthoptic service survey in the UK and Ireland during the interim recovery period (summer 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic

Rowe, Fiona J ORCID: 0000-0001-9210-9131, Hepworth, Lauren R ORCID: 0000-0001-8542-9815 and Howard, Claire
(2021) Orthoptic service survey in the UK and Ireland during the interim recovery period (summer 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic. STRABISMUS, 29 (4). pp. 252-266.

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COVID-19 extended through 2020 with impact on all hospital services. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of orthoptic service provision during the initial recovery period from July to September 2020 in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands. We conducted a prospective survey-based cross-sectional study using an online survey aiming for coverage of orthoptic departments across the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands. The survey sought to gather data on orthoptic practice during the COVID-19 pandemic period between the first and second waves in the UK. Questions included within the survey asked about the impact on services paused or reduced during the pandemic, the reinstatement of services, backlog of appointments, changes to arrangement and conduct of appointments, changes to working practice, impact to lives of orthoptists, and access by orthoptists to professional support and guidelines. We circulated the online survey through the British and Irish Orthoptic Society that reaches over 95% of UK and Irish orthoptic services and through social media and orthoptic research networks. This survey was open from July 1<sup>st</sup> to September 30<sup>th</sup> 2020 and achieved a response rate from orthoptic departments of 85%. A high rate (92%) of teleconsultations continued with 50% of departments using a proforma to guide the teleconsultation and with added use of risk assessment for patient appointments. To enable reopening of clinics, multiple changes were made for patient and staff flow through clinic areas. Reduced clinical capacity was confirmed by 76.5% of departments. Appointments averaged 15-20 minutes and there was routine use of PPE and cleaning and adoption of staggered appointments with added evening/weekend clinics. There was increased use of information resources/leaflets for patients and dependence on professional and health care guidance documents. The average backlog for patient appointments had increased to 26 weeks. The initial UK and Irish recovery phase in summer 2020 allowed a glimpse at adjustments needed to reopen orthoptic clinics for in-person appointments. Teleconsultation remained in frequent use but with greater risk assessment and triage to identify those requiring in-person appointments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Orthoptist, COVID-19, coronavirus, service delivery, recovery, survey
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 14:23
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:18
DOI: 10.1080/09273972.2021.1987929
Open Access URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09273...
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3146116