Enhanced Services and Referrals

CUES (supersedes MECS)

COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES service) delivered by Primary Eye Care Service officially launched as of the 24th July 2020.

The fundamental differences between CUES and MECS are that CUES is focused on urgent symptoms with the first port of call a telemedicine consultation to minimise patient contact. CUES can also be extended to include further pathways such as remote prescribing and referral refinement mechanisms working alongside local hospital eye clinics.

Patients with urgent ocular symptoms, such as a red eye, painful eye, flashes and floaters, suspect foreign body etc. can be signposted to CUES at a local participating optical practice. Click here to search for a practice.

The Service will provide initial contact, telephone triage, remote consultations and where necessary face to face assessments providing management of recent onset symptomatic or urgent ocular presentations. Patients will be seen according to the urgency of their symptoms, within 24 hours or 48 hours for less serious symptoms.

Please click here  if you wish to join the Heart of West Midlands Scheme. 

IOP Repeat Reading, and Cataract Direct Referral

These are  also run via the national Primary Eyecare Company, and use Opera software to administer. If you wish to join please email info@primaryeyecare.co.uk

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

A Digital Retinopathy Screening programme runs in the area. Patients are invited to annual photography at participating practices, with grading performed centrally by HEFT (Heartlands) who run the scheme. HEFT limit the number of practices who can participate.

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

Wet AMD Pathway

Wet AMD is not an emergency but should be referred, on the same day that you see and diagnose the patient, to a dedicated FAST TRACK Wet AMD clinic where they should be seen within two weeks of referral.

BMEC / Sandwell:
email via NHSmail only to swbh.team-eyereferrals-fasttrackamd@nhs.net


tel: 0121 507 6714 to contact coordinator

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

For patients requiring emergency (same day) assessment and/or treatment there is a casualty unit at BMEC which serves the whole of Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Emergency referrals to eye casualty should be made by contacting the eye casualty triage team on:

telephone No 0121 507 4440 between 08.00 and 16.00

The triage team will discuss with you whether the patient should be sent immediately or next day and an appointment time will be offered to the patient. You should give the patient a short written referral letter for them to present on arrival in the eye casualty department.

Casualty is open:
Monday to Saturday 09.00 until 19.00
Sunday and bank holidays 09.00 until 18.00.

Outside these hours patients should attend their local hospital casualty department.
Urgent referrals requiring attention within two weeks should be made to the BMEC URGENT CARE CLINIC. Appointments can be arranged by telephone to the above number when the triage nurse will decide whether the patient requires emergency or urgent care. Again a typed referral letter should be given to the patient for presentation to reception when they arrive at the clinic.

NB If referring to Emergency or Urgent Care via Opera following a CUES assessment you still need to telephone the triage nurse and send a referral letter by hand with the patient.

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

If you require information on emergency referrals in other areas please see the relevant LOCs website.

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. You may wish to look at Birmingham LOC’s direct referral guidelines.  The following information may also be useful:

BMEC/Sandwell Hospitals’ urgent or emergency email address:


Once sent, you must follow up with a phone call to 0121 507 4440 or 0121 507 4151 confirm the email has been received and actioned (and an appointment has been made if it was an urgent referral)

BMEC/Sandwell Hospitals’ email address for routine referrals:


Emails must be sent from an nhs.net account

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