Our Policy Priorities
Our leadership teams identify priorities that will influence local and national commissioning of eye care services in the UK to ensure long term viability of patient care at the highest standards and the workforce needed to deliver that care. The ophthalmic workforce deals with over 9 million outpatients a year with a predicted growth in patient demand of 25% over the next 10 years. Saving the sight of the nation is important for people’s well-being, quality of life and maintaining a productive society and economy.
Collaboration and consultation
Our policy work emerges through consultation with members and partners in the eye health sector, including The College of Optometrists and private sector organisations.
Our policies are developed by working with regulatory and arms’ length bodies that provide the national health system in the UK, such as the NHS in four nations, Health Education England and the General Medical Council.
Our current priorities
We work with members and College officers to develop evidence based policy and healthcare standards with clear asks and actions to influence key decision makers.
Our policy priorities:
- Provide evidence based research to influence decision makers so that eye care services are recognised for the important role it plays in people’s lives and society
- Advocate for the use of innovative technology and communications to support joined-up and streamlined services between primary and secondary care
- Shape policy and practice in the NHS so that it provides high quality, accessible and sustainable eye care services for all
- Work in partnership with other organisations to implement safe and sustainable practice.
The latest from the policy team
We aim to influence public policy to maintain high standards of care and outcomes for patients and a workforce needed to meet that care. Read more about our recent work:
- RCOphth responds to select committees and MPs report on Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date: In ophthalmology we saw significant disruption to patient care, with many procedures cancelled to free up capacity and to meet the restrictions imposed during the initial lockdowns. RCOphth supported members by providing rapid COVID-19 guidance and long before COVID-19 has highlighted to NHSE/I and Health Education England the lack of capacity and growing shortage of staff.
- RCOphth welcomes extra NHS funding which will help address eye care backlogs: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has welcomed the announcement that the NHS in England will receive an extra £5.4 billion over the next six months to support its response to COVID-19 and help tackle waiting lists.
- RCOphth calls for action on workforce to reduce strain on ophthalmology services: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has responded to a Health Education England (HEE) call for evidence to make the case for investment in the ophthalmology workforce to meet rapidly rising patient demand.
- Atlas of variation in risk factors and healthcare for vision in England: This new ‘Vision Atlas’ represents the first Public Health England (PHE) output solely focused on eye health. Ophthalmology is the largest outpatient specialty in England. The atlas shows there were 9 million outpatient attendances for vision in 2019/20.