Enhanced Services and Referrals

MECS, Pressure Repeat Reading, and Cataract Direct Referral

The following schemes are running in Sandwell:

  • MECS
  • Pressure Repeat Reading
  • Cataract Direct Referral

These are run via the national Primary Eyecare Company, and use Optomanager software to administer. Information on these, and how to join is below:

Sandwell and West Birmingham MECS intro pack

See below for the Triage form and flow chart:

MECS Triage Form

MECS Triage Flow Chart

Further information, including the ability to search for local practices offering MECS is at https://primaryeyecare.co.uk/

MECs formulary


The LOC do not provide OSCEs. The national Eyecare Company may, from time to time, put these on locally. Candidates are expected to pay their own fees upfront, and if they pass they may be able to claim fees from their local LOC. They would need a contractor registered in the area to sign a claim form for them. If you wish to approach the LOC about claiming fees, please contact us once you have passed your OSCE.

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Optometrists in the scheme have been reduced to taking photographs only and no longer grade. All grading is carried out centrally at Heartlands Hospital. It is still a requirement to complete the relevant City and Guilds units to be allowed to capture photographs, as well as attending a 3 day course at Heartlands.

HEFT (Heartlands) won a new contract in 2014 to provide Diabetic Screening services across the whole of the Birmingham, Black Country and Solihull area, with Wolverhampton’s previously separate scheme ending and those sites joining the HEFT scheme. HEFT have indicated they will review the provision of the service with respect to sites offering screening.

Diabetic Screening sites Sandwell Nov2014

For more information on the scheme, including a tool to search for nearest screening site,  please visit www.retinalscreening.co.uk  or contact Paul Galsworthy (programme manager).

Wet AMD Pathway

Suspect Wet AMD should be referred to BMEC urgently by FAX TO 0121 507 6726. Referrals should be made on the following form:

Wet AMD rapid access BMEC form

It is important you follow this pathway for suspect Wet AMD as if you don’t, and the patient is not seen with due urgency, you could considered negligent.

Emergency Referrals

These patients should be sent to BMEC casualty same day. If possible before sending the patient discuss the case with the triage nurse on 0121 507 6883 (or 0121 507 6780) from 7am to 9pm ,or via the switchboard on 0121 554 3801 from 9pm to 7am.

BMEC’s address is:

Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre,
City Hospital,
Western Road (off Dudley Road),
B18 7QH

Buses:  11A, 11C, 82, 83, 87, 89 stop outside hospital main gates on Dudley Road. Bus service 80 stops at junction of Dudley Road and Icknield Port Road

Other Referrals

All other referrals are via the GP on a GOS 18. Unlike in neighbouring Birmingham, there is no requirement to directly refer patients. When referring to a Birmingham GP it is suggested you include something along the lines of “Sandwell Optometrist: We do not directly refer, GP TO ACTION” and draw attention to this on the letter.

In cases where a patient needs to be seen urgently or soon, you should decide if referral via GP is the most appropriate course. Please see this article. You may want to fax referral to BMEC on 0121 507 6785 following Birmingham LOC’s direct referral guidelines.

Sight Loss Support in Sandwell

Sandwell have specialist team Sensory Services who provide advice and support on independent living for adults with sensory impairments. They offer help and guidance to adults who live in Sandwell, who have sight loss or are carers of people with sight  loss.

They  can help patients to adjust to sight and hearing loss, including practical training, enabling them to keep their independence with choice and dignity, including supplying devices and looking at possible adaptions to the patient’s home.

Email: sandwell_enquiry@sandwell.gov.uk
Call: 0121 569 2266 or text: 07767 256873
Fax: 0121 569 5789
or write to: Sandwell Enquiry, PO Box 15825, Oldbury, B69 9EL

Neighbouring LOCs

To find out what services are running in neighbouring areas, please see this page for website addresses/contact information for neighbouring LOCs