What challenges do people with sight loss face accessing vision rehabilitation services in Birmingham?

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Birmingham investigated the challenges people with sight loss face when they access Birmingham City Council’s vision rehabilitation services. They spoke to 33 individuals who were either registered sight impaired or severely sight impaired and a small number who were not yet registered.

Overall, the people they spoke to agreed on the importance of vision rehabilitation services. Vision rehabilitation support was seen as important to people’s independence, confidence and security as well as having an economic benefit. Those that received rehabilitation indicated that this helped them be an active member of their community. However, people with a visual impairment face challenges when they access Birmingham City Council’s vision rehabilitation service. These challenges occur at four different points in their engagement:

  • Initial contact with the vision rehabilitation team following diagnosis – referral
  • Vision rehabilitation assessment – assessment of needs and specialist assessments
  • Lack of referral to other services, information or organisations based on assessment of needs
  • Post vision rehabilitation support – follow-up and reviews

Healthwatch Birmingham asked people what would improve the support on offer.  People made a number of suggestions to address the issues found in the research.

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General details

Report title 
What challenges do people with sight loss face accessing vision rehabilitation services in Birmingham?
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Birmingham
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 23 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of catering
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Community services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Blindness or severe visual impairment
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible Impact (cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.