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17 July 2014

The Retinal Outreach, Integration and Research Health Integration Team (RENOIR HIT) builds on Bristol Eye Hospital's existing regional, national and international strengths. Bristol Eye Hospital has a national profile for the delivery of high quality and cost-effective clinical services. Expanding the hospital's services through a modernised system using outreach clinics will allow the NHS to treat more people closer to home, improving patient choice and making new drugs available via research to people who might not otherwise have access to them.

Before becoming a HIT, the team, led by Bristol Eye Hospital's Professor Andrew Dick, had already identified the need to seamlessly integrate research with service delivery and innovation. Uniquely, Bristol Health Partners requested that the team apply for HIT status, which was awarded to the group in December 2012.

What they've achieved so far

The team is responding to the increase in retinal conditions, by designing and delivering optimal and cost efficient care. Its outreach programme provides equity of care in the community, to allow patients to be treated closer to their home to the same standards they'd expect from the Bristol Eye Hospital. They have opened a new site at South Bristol Community Hospital in July 2013. They are scheduled to open a site in North Somerset during the autumn of 2014 and another in South Gloucester in 2015.

The service at South Bristol Community Hospital has been very well received, with respondents to a patient satisfaction survey saying that, in terms of overall of care, 66 per cent think that the service and care are excellent, 32 per cent think that it's very good and 2 per cent think that it's good.

They are also developing research and NICE guideline-informed care pathways. Initial consultation and diagnosis happens at Bristol Eye Hospital, before patients are moved into appropriate care pathways for follow-up at one of the outreach locations. They also aim to develop opportunities for access to research trials for all. They have already recruited more than 80 patients for two observational and two interventional studies.

They are also working to enhance their services through the use of modern imaging developments and IT, extending their team's skills. They have already recruited, trained and extended the role of optometrists, technical staff and nurses, leading to more cost-effective delivery of services.

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