Launch conference April 2008
The UK Vision Strategy was launched at a conference on Friday 18 April 2008. Around 400 representatives of the sight loss and eye health sectors were there to hear about the Strategy. Delegates came from many different disciplines, such as health services, government, voluntary associations and social services as well as people who have experience of using both eye health and sight loss services.
Stephen Remington, chair of VISION 2020 UK and chief executive of Action for Blind People, said that the Strategy is “a milestone in the history of our sector".
The conference was addressed by Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of RNIB and chair of the group that has led the development of the Strategy. She outlined the three major outcomes that the Strategy aims to:
- Improve the eye health of the people of the UK
- Eliminate avoidable sight loss and delivering excellent support for people with sight loss
- Enhance the inclusion, participation and independence of blind and partially sighted people.
Five year time-scales have been proposed for the delivery of the key priorities associated with these aims, and each country and region of the UK will need to develop implementation plans to meet the needs of their people. Lesley-Anne Alexander said: "We need to be open to fresh ideas, and ensure that, whatever we do we tackle inequalities and deliver services that are fair, efficient, person-centred and safe".
The Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Health recorded a video message for the conference. He said that the Government recognised there was a growing demand for eyecare services and that this represents a real challenge for the health and social care system. He said that the Strategy made a valuable contribution to the emerging debate on the future of adult social care. Welcoming its holistic approach and its focus on prevention and empowerment, he commended the Strategy, thanking all who have contributed to its launch.