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News Report Page 10 of 53
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Children's eye health at risk as parents believe sight tests take place at School

CHILDREN are missing out on vital eye health care because parents believe their children's vision is tested at School. A report released by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) shows that 52% of parents with School age children thought their child would have a full sight test at primary School.

Yet, sight tests are not offered routinely at Schools throughout the UK, which could mean that many children are suffering with undiagnosed eye conditions, despite there being a 'window of time' for treating certain issues.

The study also showed that 74% of practising optometrists have seen children in the past year who had vision problems that could have been treated more successfully if they had been diagnosed at an earlier age. However, 24% of 4 to 16 year olds had never been taken for a sight test by their parents. 27% of parents admitted to waiting for their child to show certain behaviours before taking them for a sight test, such as sitting too close to the television or holding books close to their eyes. While 14% admitted to only booking a sight test when their child told them they were having trouble seeing.

Optometrist and Clinical Advisor for the AOP, Farah Topia explained:- "The AOP's research demonstrates that unfortunately there is a huge gap between what most parents think is provided, and the eye health care that children actually receive at School, through vision screening. Many parents also don't realise that there is a window of opportunity to treat certain eye conditions which is why many practitioners are seeing children come in, with a condition that could have been treated much more effectively, had they been seen earlier. It's important to remember that conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye as it is often known, can have a detrimental impact on social and academic development as well as career options, later in life. This is why, the AOP is advocating that parents take their children for a sight test, which is NHS funded for those below the age of 16; as it's the best way to make sure conditions are picked up and treated early. As a rule of thumb, it is good for children to have their 1st sight test around the age of 3, but children can have a sight test at any age, if a problem is suspected."

Cost also played a part:- 10% parents wrongly believed they must pay for sight tests for under 16's and the overwhelming majority (83%) would be more inclined to book a sight test for their child knowing that it is funded by the NHS.

Key findings:-

Over 3.4million 4 to 16 year old's within the UK have been diagnosed with a sight problem.

13% of children have an undiagnosed common sight problem that impacts their learning and development.

Nearly all optometrists (94%) believed parents should receive more information about their children's eye health through Schools, GP surgeries, health visitors and the personal health record book.

The majority of optometrists (88%) were aware that many parents were unsure to what extent their child's eyes are tested at School.

11% parents believed children don't need sight tests unless they start showing symptoms, like straining to see something.

20% of teenagers in the UK are short sighted.

1 in 50 children will develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia can become more difficult to treat as a child grows older so it's important to get their vision checked early.

To raise awareness of the importance of vision for a child's development, the AOP is launching its A B See campaign - designed to help make sure children achieve their full potential.

As part of the campaign, the AOP is recommending that parents take their children for an NHS funded sight test, at their local opticians, every 2 years, or more often if their optometrist recommends it.

UK Government issues a 'No Deal BREXIT' scenario plan

THE UK Government have published technical notices containing advice for businesses in case the UK leaves the European Union without a deal. This set of documents about how we should prepare for March 2019, in what the UK Government says is:- "the unlikely event of a 'no deal' scenario," they warn businesses might face more customs' red tape and consumers risk facing charges for banking services as well as basics from food to clothing. Brittan's working in the EU could lose access to pensions and insurance cover, plus it's unclear if they would happen were they to have to stop work and what the health care issues would be for them. Also, expect delays at ports and airports, plus you might not be able to drive in the EU with a British Drivers Licence until a deal is brokered. That as some point out is just the start!

In response to this, the CLA which represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses, who between them own or manage more than 10 million acres across England and Wales, issued a press statement. CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said:- "It is encouraging to see the UK Government is making contingency plans in the event of a no deal Brexit. It is important to provide a clear and comprehensive guide to help farmers prepare for the eventuality tin case the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement. Of particular note is the advice for organic businesses which highlights the extreme consequences of a no deal situation which could impact a number of sectors. UK organic businesses will only be allowed to export to the EU if they are certified by a control body recognized and approved by the EU. The application process could take nine months and can only begin after Brexit, leaving the organic sector in a state of uncertainty about the future. All farmers need certainty and do not wish to leave the European Union without an agreement firmly in place which is in the best interests of the industry. We are doing all we can within Europe to encourage our equivalent organizations to support a better deal for both UK and EU farmers."

 Click here to read advice about farm payments if there is no Brexit deal.

 Click here to read advice about producing and processing organic food if there is no Brexit deal.

 Click here to read advice about receiving rural development funding if there is no Brexit deal.

 Click here to read advice about trading with the EU if there is no Brexit deal.

Also in a press statement the business group, the CBI said:- "These papers show that those who claim crashing out of the EU on World Trade Organisation rules is acceptable, live in a world of fantasy, where facts are not allowed to challenge ideology."

The UK Government has also asked that the pharmaceutical industry, within the UK, to make plans to hold additional stocks amid concerns that Hospitals and Pharmacists could run short of supplies, in the "unlikely event of a disruption at UK borders."

The European Commission has already issued warnings, saying that Brexit would lead to disruption "with a deal or without a deal." In a paper they published on 19 July 2018 they said:- "The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union has repercussions for citizens, businesses and administrations in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. These repercussions range from new controls at the EU's (new) outer border, to the validity of UK issued licences, certificates, and authorizations all the way to new conditions for data transfers. The European Union is working hard to reach an agreement on an orderly withdrawal and looks forward to discussing a framework for the future relationship with the United Kingdom. However, there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached. And even if an agreement is reached, the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union will no longer be 1 of a Member State and thus, will be in a fundamentally different situation. Therefore, everybody concerned needs to be prepared for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019. This Communication is to be seen in the light of the call of the EU27 Leaders to intensify preparedness at all levels and encourages all stakeholders that may be affected by the United Kingdom's withdrawal to take the necessary preparedness actions and to take them now."

What are your views on this issue? On Twitter, we asked, "Should we stop Brexit?" Pole questions to respond were:-:-

New referendum needed now... 69%

Not bothered/don't care... 0%

It is what we voted so no... 31%

I don't know enough to say... 0%

What do you think should happen now? Please email your thoughts to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com on this very divisive topic and let us know what you really think.

GCSE success in Liverpool

PROVISIONAL data shows that GCSE results in Liverpool have improved again. Information supplied by Secondary Schools in the City shows that, for English and maths combined, the percentage of pupils getting a grade 4 or above broadly similar to a C or above under the old scoring system has gone up by 0.5% to 59.5%.

In English, the City is now above the national average for those getting a grade 4 or above 72.6% compared to 70.2% nationally.

In maths, the City's focus on driving up standards in numeracy has led to an increase of 0.5% in those getting grade 4 or above 64.7%, although still below the national average of 71%.

The 65 pupils supported by the City's Community Languages Project; many who don't have English as a 1st language; have also done well, with 82% of those who studied Arabic, Bengali, Chinese and Polish getting A* or A grades, and 95% all getting a C or above.

Cabinet member for education, Cllr Barbara Murray, said:- "Huge congratulations to all of our pupils for their amazing hard work and determination to do the best they possibly can, supported by their teachers and families. We are absolutely committed to supporting Schools on different initiatives to drive up standards and the quality of teaching in subjects. But we are not complacent, and as with other Cities, we still have a way to go to make sure that our students achieve their full potential, particularly in maths. It is not something that will be achieved overnight, but we are totally focused on it because today's students are tomorrow's workforce and are critical to the future economic success of our City."

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