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Driving down diagnosis times in Scotland

Our Optical Engagement Manager, Lorcan Butler, is delighted to be partnering with opticians and optometrists in Scotland to help diagnose brain tumours earlier.

As a Charity, we have a strategic commitment to work to reduce diagnosis times so that brain tumours are treated earlier. One of the ways we are working to do this is partnering with the optical community recognising the unique role they play in the primary care ecosystem.

Our Optical Engagement Manager, Lorcan Butler is delighted to be collaborating with the optical community in Scotland; delivering training to help professionals identify the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour and accelerate diagnosis.

We offer webinars for all optical professionals to expand their knowledge of how brain tumours affect vision and how optical professionals are vital in the early detection of brain tumours. The response to these learning opportunities has been beyond what we had hoped, with Lorcan delivering the training to optical professionals from every Specsavers Store and Vision Express store in Scotland.

Urquhart Opticians, on the Ayrshire Coast with 5 practices were the very first Scottish optometry practice to have received store training for all of their team members across their stores. This included non-clinical teams, adopting a holistic training model to explain the signs & symptoms that can be used to detect early signs of a brain tumour in both children and adults with the reception and in-store colleagues who know their community at the heart.

Work in Fife has also been busy. Fife were the first council to adopt HeadSmart, our award-winning symptom campaign to raise awareness of brain tumours across the region. The Fife Area Optical Committee invited Lorcan to join Fife General Hospital to help retrain optometrists on the early detection of brain tumours in an eye exam in efforts to reduce hospital referrals as a result of the pandemic.

The role of the optometrist in diagnosing brain tumours has never been more important; we’re pleased to have now delivered bespoke training to 4 of the 14 health boards in Scotland and have plans in place with the remaining 10. And, in October, Lorcan will be delivering a lecture at Scotland’s flagship optical event – NES Optometry Annual Conference 2021.

We’re delighted with the uptake of the unique training delivered, showing the commitment of the optical community in Scotland helping lead the way in driving down diagnosis times.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on progress and we work together in Scotland to bring brain tumours down. 

Lorcan Butler, our Optical Engagement Manager, said: “The response from the optical community in Scotland has been absolutely incredible. I’m delighted to be working closely with partners that so clearly want to lead the way in defeating brain tumours. 

We know that approximately 30% of people experience changes to their vision in the lead up to a brain tumour diagnosis, so coaching optical professionals on how to recognise these signs and refer patients appropriately, is a vital step in reducing diagnosis times.

And the uptake of this training shows how committed the optical community in Scotland is to helping us drive down diagnosis times and improve outcomes for everybody affected by a brain tumour. 

Scotland always has been ahead of its counterparts in implementing optometric programmes, so we hope to see organisations across the UK follow suit and include similar training programmes in their national and local protocols.