More Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) are needed to support those with sight loss, Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway has said.
Senator Conway, who is visually impaired, has been campaigning for an increased number of ECLOs for some time. He said: “When you become visually impaired, the simplest of tasks become a challenge. People diagnosed with sight loss are referred to Eye Clinic Liaison Officers by their consultants, and they then become a valuable support for that person in helping them through their diagnosis and the next steps.
“The concept was introduced by Fine Gael in Government after it was piloted in Dublin children’s hospitals and it has proved really popular.
“Since the pilot was introduced there has been a 70% increase in referrals to the step down services and supports. This shows the significant value of ECLOs and how they have improved the lives of many people with the sad news of sight loss.
“I have been campaigning for the last number of years for an ECLO to be appointed to each of the seven hospital groups. I have got motions passed in the Seanad in 2015 and 2017 supporting this and I have raised it at Oireachtas Committee level also.
“The reality is there are limited supports to help people cope with a diagnosis currently. We simply need more ECLOs. I hope to see Fine Gael in government provide the necessary resources to make this a reality as soon as possible.”