WQ83581 (w) Tabled on 12/10/2021

What is the latest situation as regards waiting lists to see rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired (ROVIs) given the impact of the pandemic on health services?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 20/10/2021

The Welsh Government does not routinely hold data on waiting lists for rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired (ROVIs), as this is delivered through local authority services.

The Wales Council for the Blind (WCB), with the support of Welsh Government research funding, conducted a review in March 2021 to provide a broad snapshot of the position in Wales. This identified there were around 1,145 people on waiting lists at the time the review was conducted – some local authorities had zero figures; some had fewer than 25 people on their waiting lists and some had more than 100. It is clear there is variation in terms of waiting list lengths in different parts of Wales.

We are aware these services, like many others in Wales, have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. While referral figures did fluctuate while restrictions were in place, more people are being referred into the system.

There are a number of challenges affecting this part of the sector – variations in accessibility and waiting times, coupled with the number of available ROVIs in Wales and future workforce planning preparations are some examples. To address this, officials are liaising with the WCB, which in turn works closely with local authorities, Wales Vision Forum and the Welsh Rehabilitation Officers Forum to support plans to address challenges. Funding has also been made available to the WCB.