As we enter an election year, it is imperative we build on the momentum from 2023 to strengthen ophthalmology services, training and research in the UK.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has written to Health Minister Will Quince MP to express our support for the extension of independent prescribing responsibilities to orthoptists. The British and Irish Orthoptic Society has previously advocated for these responsibilities, including in a letter to the Secretary of State.
The Department of Health and Social Care has today published its Elective recovery taskforce implementation plan. The plan covers England and focuses on ‘increasing the use of independent sector capacity across a broader range of specialties, helping to get NHS waiting times down and ensuring every patient can realise their right to choose where they receive their NHS care’.
In November 2022, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Paediatric Sub-committee held a series of focus groups to explore the challenges facing paediatric eye care and identify possible solutions to secure the future of the workforce. Following the conclusion of these focus groups, the RCOphth has produced ‘Improving the visibility of paediatric ophthalmology: A workforce report‘ detailing key findings
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists last week hosted a webinar with King’s Mill Hospital Ophthalmology Department and NHS England’s Outpatient Recovery and Transformation team to explore how ophthalmology patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) can be successfully implemented. The session, held following the publication of the King’s Mill PIFU case study and attended by almost 100 people from a range of professions, saw an expert panel deliver presentations on the role PIFU can play in increasing capacity as part of a wider set of actions, followed by an audience Q&A.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists President, Professor Bernie Chang, joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment to deliver a presentation on the findings of the College’s 2022 workforce census. Joining Parliamentarians and sector leaders, Professor Chang detailed the extent of the workforce shortages in ophthalmology and the event also saw presentations from the College of Optometrists, the Association of Optometrists, and Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital about workforce challenges and solutions in their areas.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and the ophthalmology department at King’s Mill district general hospital (DGH) collaborated on a case study detailing how King’s Mill developed its patient initiated follow up (PIFU) offering in general ophthalmology, and the impact it has had on unit capacity and patient outcomes, as part of a wider set of actions.
NHS England has published guidance detailing how trusts can reduce instances of ‘did not attends’ (DNAs) for outpatient appointments. RCOphth Policy Advisor David Murray summarises what’s in the guidance, how it might affect ophthalmology services and what else is needed to tackle outpatient backlogs in ophthalmology.
To support the College’s work to address the challenges to long term sustainable patient care created by the growing role of independent sector providers, we are inviting members to join working groups on the cataract referral process and the postoperative pathway.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and The College of Optometrists have collaborated on the Ophthalmic Services guidance: Designing Glaucoma Care Pathways using GLAUC-STRAT-FAST.