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 minor eye conditions service (MECS) has been running in the area for many years, with great success. Due to the COVID pandemic, a new urgent eyecare service has been launched called the COVID -19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES service) in the Birmingham and Solihull (BSOL) STP and the Black Country (BC) STP. This is a similar service to MECS but with a focus on urgent symptoms.

The primary aim of this Service is to ensure people can access urgent eyecare within primary care, utilising the established trained workforce in optical practices. This is essential to reduce demand on primary care and hospital eye services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 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, foreign body etc. can be signposted to CUES at a local participating optical 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.

The purpose of the remote consultation is for the optometrist to conduct a clinical triage and obtain history and symptoms, this will reduce the amount of time spent face to face with the patient. Patients will be seen according to the urgency of their symptoms, within 24 hours or 48 hours for less serious symptoms.

If you are not currently providing the service 

Please signpost any patient presenting to your practice with symptoms suggestive of an urgent eye condition to a nearby participating CUES practice.  The list of accredited optical practices currently providing the service is available on the Primary Eyecare Website www.primaryeyecare.co.uk using the ‘Find a Practice’ tool. We will send a list of providers asap but this is being updated regularly as more optical practices join the service, so for the most up to date information it is advisable to view the list of the website linked above.

Launch Documents

Please follow the link below if you wish to join the Heart of West Midlands scheme


Below are some documents from just after the CUES launch.

If you are viewing this from outside of the west midlands please contact info@primaryeyecare.co.uk to find out the clinical governance and performance lead for your area

(S7) CUES Optometry letter template BSOL

(S7) CUES Service Summary One Pager

(S7) Practice provider list_9thAugust2020_howm


COVID Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES) comments


CUES info for Website

CUES IT Platform pathways and outcomes quick guide

CUES Pathway and protocols (12.05.2020) (002)

CUES Registering_ onboarding process

CUES registration step by step two page guide

CUES Triage V2.2 (2)

PE UES Poster AW 1 (2)

Pharmacy providers

IOP Repeat Reading, and Cataract Direct Referral

These are  also run via the national Primary Eyecare Company, but use Optomanager software to administer.

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