We have provided evidence to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), which is responding to the UK COVID-19 Inquiry on behalf of all members. RCOphth Policy Advisor David Murray summarises the key points from our response, which recommends four actions to ensure UK ophthalmology services are resilient and able to deliver sufficient patient care and training opportunities during and after the acute stage of a future pandemic.
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 Government’s Elective Recovery Taskforce has announced several actions aimed at increasing capacity in England in its implementation plan, especially through expanded independent sector involvement in the delivery of NHS services. While the measures, analysed in this article, represent an important acknowledgement of the need to urgently expand capacity and aspects of the plan can help ophthalmology if implemented effectively, to make a real difference policymakers must prioritise properly investing in NHS services and its workforce and infrastructure.
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’.
Last week Members of Parliament debated the potential merits of a national eye health strategy at Westminster Hall. The debate, tabled by Marsha de Cordova MP, saw parliamentarians from across the political spectrum cite recent RCOphth statistics and explore several policy priorities advocated by the College. They discussed how an eye care strategy, supported by investment and resourcing, could help facilitate solutions to the ophthalmology capacity challenge.
The government has responded to a report by the Health and Social Care Select Committee, agreeing that if medical school places are to be expanded ‘there would need to be the appropriate number of specialty training places subsequently made available for graduates’. With the upcoming Long Term Workforce Plan in England expected to announce increases to medical school places, this clarity is important in potentially paving the way for a much-needed expansion in ophthalmology specialty training places.
This is the first episode of Eye to Eye, the podcast of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists. The first episode launches with two interviews recorded at the RCOphth Annual Congress in May and a special message from the Chair of the Ophthalmologists in Training Group, welcoming new trainees. We'll be hearing from Fahd Quhill, Consultant Ophthalmologist from Sheffield on his research into laser pointer retinal injuries followed by an interview with Jeff Hogg, a registrar from Newcastle who tells us about his work analysing prescribing trends in glaucoma.
Following joint task and finish groups convened by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and NHS England, guidance has been published on cataract commissioning, the referral and post-operative pathways, and training in independent sector providers.
A recent RCOphth Cataract Surgery Complications course was the setting for the world’s first surgical skills course in a dry-lab environment where trainees watched surgical techniques being demonstrated live, in 3D
Working with training programme directors, NHS England, ophthalmologists in training and independent sector providers, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has published a blueprint to help providers and trainers enable appropriate and safe cataract training within the independent sector (IS), where these training opportunities are needed.