College outlines actions needed to future-proof ophthalmology services

  • 14 Mar 2024
  • Communications team

We are today publishing our three-step plan to future-proof NHS ophthalmology and are calling on politicians and policymakers to follow our recommendations to secure a sustainable and comprehensive eyecare service for people across the UK.

Reflecting findings from a UK-wide survey of ophthalmology clinical leads, this highlights the key challenges faced by ophthalmology in delivering care to the two million-plus people living with conditions that cause sight loss. It also sets out measures to support eyecare professionals to provide consistently high quality services to all their patients.

We are calling on all political parties and health policymakers to commit to three key actions:

  • Expanding and upskilling the entire eye care workforce, including by delivering an additional 385 ophthalmology training places by 2031 to plug chronic shortages.
  • Better integrating eyecare through innovation and joint working, prioritising resolving digital blockers such as a lack of interoperable electronic patient records and shared imaging standards.
  • More effectively targeting limited ophthalmology budgets to meet greatest patient need, including by reforming commissioning, tariff and data reporting systems to ensure independent sector capacity supports sustainable comprehensive eye care.

College President Professor Ben Burton said: “This is a pivotal time for the future of ophthalmology services in the UK. Despite being one of the most innovative specialties, it is clear that without a strategic approach and sufficient resourcing, ophthalmology services will struggle to consistently deliver timely comprehensive care. We now call on all political parties and policymakers to step up and implement these three steps so we can safeguard the future of patient care.”

You can read Correcting an oversight: Three steps to future-proof NHS ophthalmology services here