First Patients Receive Eye Tests On Scilly Under New Service

St Mary's Health Centre

St Mary’s Health Centre

Almost forty patients have received eye tests in Scilly under a new optometry service, which started this week at the Health Centre.

It had been hoped that the tests would start last summer but NHS red tape held up the process.

Lead GP John Garman says there’s still a backlog of patients to get through, but they managed to clear around 20% of the waiting list during the first clinic.

The eye testing is part of a number of changes that have taken place at the surgery over the past year.

These included a new pharmacy, which can be operated separately to the GP practice.

John says existing patients will notice some differences. The most obvious is that without a pharmacist present in the building the doctors can’t issue any medication.

But he stressed that in urgent cases the GP’s can still give out medicines outside of normal opening hours.

The pharmacy will also be able to provide gluten-free dispensing, treatment of minor ailments, emergency contraception and nicotine replacement therapy.

The opening of the new services means the 5-year contract set up with Helston Medical Practice to run the Health Centre in Scilly can now be signed.

They’ve been operating under a temporary contract for the past two years.

Bridget Sampson, Director of Commissioning for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said the lack of a helicopter link has made it quite tricky to set up robust, permanent services for residents.

She says the latest developments will ensure more extensive medical, pharmacy and optometry services are provided, that will meet the needs of islanders.

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