In 2019/20, there were 9 million outpatient attendances for all five-vision treatment specialties1. As the leading outpatient speciality in the NHS, the appointment of Louisa Wickham to the post of National Clinical Director (NCD) for Eye Care is long overdue and welcomed.
This appointment comes at a crucial time for eye care services and will provide focused leadership and accountability in transforming eye care services in England. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists looks forward to working with Miss Wickham to develop a national strategy for the sustainability of eye care services and maintaining patient standards of care.
The RCOphth has established policy-led improvements, working with key stakeholders, that include upskilling the multidisciplinary workforce2, improvements in digital technology, better integration between primary and secondary care to improve the patient experience3 as well as working to enable training to take place in high-volume settings4.
Professor Bernie Chang, the RCOphth President, commented: ‘Louisa Wickham is a longstanding member of the College and is well-respected in the field of ophthalmology. With the demand for eye care services at an all-time high, the College is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Louisa and to build on the work the College has already taken forward as part of the National Transformation and Elective Recovery programme. We will continue to work with our members, workforce and healthcare policy decision-makers, commissioners and other partners towards a sustainable eye care service for all patients.
With the demand for eye care services increasing by 40% over the next 20 years5, all those involved in ophthalmic care of patients must continue to look at innovative ways of reducing backlogs and increasing capacity. We believe the National Clinical Director will be taking a central role in this work, alongside existing stakeholders and partners, including The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
- 1. Atlas of variation in risk factors and healthcare for vision in England August 2021 and healthcare for vision in England August 2021
- Ophthalmic Practitioner Training
- Joint Vision Statement 2021: The College of Optometrists and The Royal College of Ophthalmology
- New guidance on cataract surgery training in high-volume settings
- The Way Forward. Identifying current methods of working and schemes devised by ophthalmology departments in the UK to help meet the increasing demand for ophthalmic services.