THIS week (18-24 September) is National Eye Health Week and eye care specialists at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust celebrated the work that has been done to reduce waiting times at the Yeovil Ophthalmology Diagnostic Centre since it opened in June 2022.

Mr Paritosh Shah, a consultant ophthalmologist at the trust and clinical lead for the centre, explains how the idea of a town centre-based ophthalmology centre came about.

"The idea of opening this type of diagnostic centre in Yeovil originally came from a similar set-up we’d seen in Manchester City Centre,” he said.

“It took ophthalmology tests away from the busy hospital setting to a place that’s so much easier for people to drop into.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we weren’t able to see as many patients as normal due to all the necessary restrictions, which created a backlog in appointments across the country, leading to increased waiting times – not something we want for our patients.

“The opening of our new centre really came at the right time, as we could see our patients, complete their diagnostics, and put in place a treatment plan in a timely manner, without them needing to go into the busy hospital.

“A similar centre at Harrison House in Taunton opened at the same time, which has proven a huge success so far – now that we’re one merged trust it’s great that we can learn so much from each other.”