Encouraging growth in the healthcare and life-sciences sectors is a government priority, and clinical research is a critical factor in achieving this goal. Medical research drives innovation, generates income and gives rise to more effective treatments. It’s a win-win for patients and our health system. Coupled with this, it is vital to provide protected time and resources for clinicians to carry out clinical research within hospital settings.
With the help of our patients, scientists and clinicians we are developing a comprehensive all-Ireland patient registry through our Target 3000 project. This is vital in order to identify patients that may be eligible for clinical trials for potential therapies. Recent establishment of the national diabetic retinopathy screening programme is welcomed and is a testament to the power of the use of patient data in identifying at-risk citizens in order to prevent unnecessary sight loss.
Through the Insight Counselling Centre Fighting Blindness provides emotional support, information and practical help to individuals affected by sight loss and their families. We advocate for continued funding for this vital resource.
Our Insight Counselling Centre is based in Dublin. We provide a telephone and Skype service but need to expand nationwide so that more people can access our face to face service.
Fighting Blindness, as part of the National Vision Coalition, is calling for immediate adoption of a national vision strategy. It is crucial that we develop a cohesive plan for vision health and ensure that service users have access to appropriate treatment and care. We must ensure that the Coalition’s recommendations are developed into a strategy that is all-encompassing, for both children and adults.
We have come a long way in our combined efforts with many committed stakeholders including patients and their representatives, scientists, clinicians, support workers, industry representatives, and policy makers in the development of a National Plan for Rare Disease in Ireland. Now is the time to ensure that this strategy is implemented and delivered.