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Ray John Higginson

Nursing 2017 Speaker -  Ray John Higginson

Title: Evaluation of Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration Pathfinder Services

Ray John Higginson

University of South Wales, UK


I have a background in general and cardiac intensive care, with a specific interest in post myocardial infarction cardiac rehabilitation. My PhD thesis explored factors influencing women’s attendance at post MI cardiac rehabilitation programmes, in South Wales. I predominately teach physiology, but I am also involved in research teaching too. Having completed a programme of post-doctoral biology training and education I am also registered as a Chartered Biologist. My interests are varied but I have a particular interest in cardio-respiratory physiology and biosciences.


The aim of this study is to evaluate new pathfinder services that are being provided by 4 Health Boards in Wales, United Kingdom - for the assessment and treatment of wet Age Related maculopathy (wAMD) within local communities and to compare these with prior ‘in-hospital’ service provision. 

In July 2015 the Welsh Government announced funding of £0.5m for pathfinders for a pilot and evaluation of a service model to treat wet Age Related Macular Degeneration in primary care.

It is intended that the services, which are currently provided by ophthalmologists and doctors in hospital departments, will be ultimately delivered by primary care practitioners, overseen by an ophthalmologist. This will expand the role of primary care practitioners including nurses and optometrists. The aim is that these new services will allow people to be seen more quickly closer to home and free up time for hospital-based ophthalmologists to manage patients with the most complex conditions.  

Detailed proposals were made by all health boards and pathfinder schemes from  3 University Health Boards and 1 teaching health board to deliver community based  wet AMD  services were funded, Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf, Hywel Dda and Powys.

Each HB has proposed a different model for the provision of community based services which reflect their local needs and resources. All the pathfinder services have now commenced and will be evaluated in terms of patient experience, outcomes and cost. Both the pathfinder service and its evaluation are being funded by the Welsh Government.