More support needed for sight loss patients, says charity

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A charity which helps blind people says more support is needed for newly-diagnosed patients in South Yorkshire.

A new report by the Royal National Institute of Blind People says that almost two-thirds of clinics and hospitals across Yorkshire do not have dedicated support staff available for patients who are told they are losing their sight.

The charity says that, in England, 53 per cent of hospitals have a sight advisor, making the region worse than the national average.

Sight loss advisers offer support and advice to people who are losing their sight, helping people to understand their condition and treatment.

The RNIB wants people to sign a petition calling for every eye clinic to have access to a sight loss advisor by 2019.

Liz Wick, aged 51, from Norton in Sheffield, said: “It changes your life when you’re told ‘You’re going blind, and we may not be able to do anything for you’. When I was first diagnosed, I’d just separated from my husband, my son was 14 and I didn’t know what the future held for me.

“I had lots of worrying thoughts. To have had someone there, ready for when I wanted it all explained to me, would have been amazing.”

Lesley-Anne Alexander, RNIB’s chief executive, added: “Every 15 minutes someone in the UK starts to lose their sight but people do not always get even basic emotional and practical support at this critical time.

“No-one should have to face the prospect alone or without the support they need to help them through the situation.”

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